More concerns for All Blacks with Will Jordan absent from training
With Beauden and Jordie Barrett both leaving the field early against the Springboks on Saturday evening, the potential loss of another fullback option would be a major blow for the All Blacks this week.
Jordie Barrett departed the field in the 52nd minute of the 26-10 loss, ostensibly after some friendly fire from captain Sam Cane, while his older brother headed to the sidelines after a dangerous aerial challenge from Kurt-Lee Arendse.
While Ian Foster indicated on Sunday that both Barrett brothers could potentially take the field this weekend, it wouldn’t be a shock to see one or both omitted from the team sheet come Thursday’s announcement.
Both players featured at training on Tuesday – although Jordie was notably absent from the kicking drills at the end of the scrimmage – but the same couldn’t be said for Will Jordan, who was placed on the right wing in Mbombela.
“I don’t think he’s too bad, he’s just got a bit of a mild stomach issue,” Cane told media following training. “He was at the gym yesterday arvo so it can’t be too bad.”
The All Blacks confirmed that at this stage, Jordan is still very much in contention to play this weekend – but missing the major training session might not work in his favour.
Should Jordie Barrett be unavailable for Saturday’s rematch with the Springboks, Jordan would have been the fan-favourite to step into the No 15 jersey – although it’s just as likely that head coach Ian Foster simply shifts Beauden Barrett to fullback and brings Richie Mo’unga in at first five-eighth.
David Havili and Stephen Perofeta are other squad members who could suit up at the back but it would be a big ask for either player, with the former spending the past two seasons almost exclusively in the midfield and the latter uncapped at Test level.
Regardless of availability, it’s anticipated that Foster will make a number of changes to the side for this weekend’s encounter.
In the backline, Quinn Tupaea looms as a possible selection in the No 12 jersey as a potential counter for the sizeable Damian de Allende, while it would be a surprise if Foster didn’t rotate his loose forwards.
Up front, the All Blacks head coach was full of praise for the reserve props on Sunday – potentially indicating that changes could be coming in the front row this weekend.
“Pretty pleased with that front row in the second half too, to be honest,” he said after talking up Samisoni Taukei’aho’s performance in the No 2 jersey.
“If you look at South Africa, in big games they really go to their scrum in that second half and it’s a big part of their game and I thought our scrum grew stronger and stronger as that game went on, which is another pleasing thing.”
Saturday’s Test between the Springboks and All Blacks will kick off at 5:05pm from Johannesburg with the All Blacks side set to be named on Thursday morning (SAST).
South Africa have already named their 23 for the fixture, with loosehead prop Ox Nche and hooker Bongi Mbonambi coming in for Trevor Nyakan and Malcolm Marx in the front row, amongst a number of changes to the line-up.
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