Highlanders and Otago first-five Josh Ioane has been called in to train with the All Blacks squad ahead of their second Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies in Auckland this Sunday.
The one-test playmaker, who featured in Otago’s 35-34 win over Wellington on Saturday, was spotted training with Ian Foster’s side three days after they drew 16-all with Australia in their first match of the year at Sky Stadium.
The call-up comes as Beauden Barrett was notably absent from All Blacks training on Wednesday morning, according to 1 News.
Barrett was named to start at fullback last weekend but was scratched on the eve of the match with an Achilles tendon injury that was expected to only rule him out for that test.
Replaced in the starting lineup by Chiefs star Damian McKenzie, Barrett was reportedly still with the team on Wednesday, but trained away from the group.
His absence will raise doubts over whether he will be fit to play this weekend as the All Blacks look to maintain a 34-year undefeated run against the Wallabies at Eden Park.
Should he remain unavailable, it would likely Richie Mo’unga would stay in the No. 10 jersey, with Ioane a possibility to take part in the match day squad.
Ioane’s provincial teammate Liam Coltman was also seen training with the All Blacks, adding to the national side’s hooker contingent that also consists of Codie Taylor, Dane Coles and Asafo Aumua.
A further two All Blacks who have been ruled out due to injury over the past few months – Ngani Laumape and Scott Barrett – were also present at the team’s training on Wednesday.
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