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All Blacks camp suffers first casualty as already depleted midfield stocks take a further blow

By Tom Vinicombe

Trending on RugbyPass

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The All Blacks were already digging deep into the nation’s midfield stocks thanks to a season-ending injury suffered by Jack Goodhue and Ngani Laumape’s departure to France but they’ve now taken a further hit ahead of the July series.

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One-test utility back Braydon Ennor has been ruled out for the All Blacks’ upcoming three matches due to a bout of appendicitis. The 23-year-old will undergo surgery and spend up to five weeks on the sidelines.

Ennor has enjoyed a torrid run of injuries throughout his career.

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The Aucklander ruptured his ACL at the end of his final year of schooling, which ruled him out from the national finals and also prevented him from representing the New Zealand Secondary Schools side.

After cracking the All Blacks in early 2019 but not making the final cut for the World Cup squad, Ennor was exemplary for the Crusaders throughout last year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa season and was due another call-up to the national team. A second ACL rupture, suffered in the North v South exhibition match, sidelined him for the remainder of the season, however.

Ennor only made his return to the field earlier this year, late in the Super Rugby season, but was still selected for the All Blacks for the upcoming July tests against Tonga and Fiji.

With Anton Lienert-Brown likely to miss the first two matches due to some minor elbow surgery, Ennor was looking likely to earn some minutes alongside Crusaders teammate David Havili in the midfield. His latest surgery has put an end to that hope, however.

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While the All Blacks are yet to bring a replacement player into the squad, the drums will be beating for Leicester Faginga’anuku who, like Ennor, can play both at centre and on the wing.

Other options in the squad include Havili and new cap Quinn Tupaea, who are both No 12s at heart, as well as converted wing Rieko Ioane – who will likely wear the No 13 jersey for at least the opening two matches of the All Blacks’ campaign.

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All Blacks camp suffers first casualty as already depleted midfield stocks take a further blow

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