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Injury strikes All Blacks squad with young lock ruled out for season

By Tom Vinicombe
Josh Lord. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Add junior lock Josh Lord to the All Blacks‘ list of long-term injuries alongside the likes of Joe Moody, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ethan Blackadder.

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Lord, as just 21 years of age, was the youngest player named in the first All Blacks squad of the year and was somewhat of a surprise selection after only making his test debut last season.

With experienced cattle like Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick and Scott Barrett to call upon, as well as fellow Chiefs youngster Tupou Vaa’i, and the impending return of Patrick Tuipulou from Japan, some may have seen Lord as surplus to the New Zealand national side’s needs in 2022 but such is his potential he still forced his way into the squad as one of five second-rowers.

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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.

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Reacting to the first All Blacks squad of the season.

Lord, however, will play no part for the All Blacks this year after it was determined his ongoing knee injury is considerably more serious than first thought.

“An MRI scan has revealed an ACL rupture to Josh Lord’s left knee,” the All Blacks announced through their social media channels. “This rules Josh out for the rest of the All Blacks 2022 season.”

Lord first twisted his knee at a Chiefs training session in mid-May ahead of their match with the Western Force in Hamilton. Lord played no further part in the Super Rugby Pacific season but it was anticipated he would be back in time to play some role for the All Blacks during their July series with Ireland.

 

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The latest news has scuppered that chance, however, leaving the national side with just four second-rowers for the upcoming tests.

While the All Blacks won’t be bringing any replacement players into the squad at this stage, the returning Tuipulotu is the next cab off the ranks and will likely join the team for the Rugby Championship, which kicks off in August.

While Lord, Moody and Blackadder aren’t expected to feature for the All Blacks this season, midfielder Lienert-Brown could make a return later in the year.

The All Blacks kick off their test calendar against Ireland on July 2.

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