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‘Bit of a whirlwind’: All Black Ethan Blackadder on World Cup call-up

By Finn Morton
Ethan Blackadder takes a pass during the New Zealand All Blacks captain's run at Eden Park on August 13, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Backrower Ethan Blackadder is en route to France after being called into the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup squad as a replacement for injured wing Emoni Narawa.


Blackadder, 28, was having breakfast with his Tasman Mako teammates when his phone rang, and the opportunity to realise a lifelong dream waited on the other end.

Forwards coach Jason Ryan told the Tasman and Crusaders enforcer that he was “fine to head over” to France as a much-needed addition to the All Blacks’ depleted stocks.

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“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, that’s for sure,” Blackadder told reporters in New Zealand. “I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in this position right now.

“I’m really privileged to be able to be called in.”

Tyrel Lomax, Jordie Barrett, Shannon Frizell and captain Sam Cane were among the major absentees from New Zealand’s team to play France in Friday’s World Cup opener.

Lock Tupou Vaa’i received a late promotion into the starting side to face Les Bleus, but interestingly, was named at blindside flanker with Dalton Papali’i shifting to openside.


The inclusion of Vaa’i was a necessity as the All Blacks were running out of cattle in the forwards. Veteran Brodie Retallick was rushed back from injury as Foster picked him to come off the pine.

The day after that Test at Stade de France, head coach Ian Foster confirmed that Blackadder would come into the squad to “reinforce the loose forward stock.”

“We’ve called Ethan in, he should be here Monday afternoon. That is a replacement for Emoni,” Foster said on Saturday.

“I guess with Sam Cane and his back popping out the last couple of days, Ehtan’s come in to reinforce the loose forward stock.


“We are erring on the side of coverage with the six, seven types area, particularly with Sam’s back.

“Even though we are confident that is not long-term, having Ethan in just gives us a little bit of extra protection in that space.”


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