Rieko Ioane has withdrawn from the All Black’s squad for the second Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies at Eden park, and has been replaced by Hurricanes centre Peter Umaga-Jensen.
After starting last weeks test at outside centre, Ioane was dropped to the bench as midfield cover after a mixed performance in the first test of the year, which was largely overshadowed by the 23-year-old butchering what appeared to be a certain try.
Ioane has been battling a hamstring injury since the clash, but was given until the 11th hour to prove his fitness for the highly anticipated match. However, the 2017 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year failed a fitness test on Sunday morning.
UPDATE: All Black Rieko Ioane has been ruled out of today’s Bledisloe Cup presented by Investec Test with a tweaked hamstring and replaced in the 22 jersey by Peter Umaga-Jensen, who will be set to make his Test debut. #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/6evPLOOvaq
Umaga-Jensen was a standout for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa, in what was a breakout season for the up-and-comer. The 22-year-old earned selection in the North vs South match on the back of his five SR Aotearoa matches, and was called into the All Blacks camp for the first time earlier this month as injury cover.
There will be plenty of watchful eyes on the up-and-comer, who is the nephew of former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.
Umaga-Jensen’s selection is one of two changes to the New Zealand midfield, with All Blacks mainstay Anton Lienert-Brown having been promoted to the starting side after coming on as a replacement last week.
Auckland’s Eden Park will host the next Bledisloe Cup test, which is the second of four matches between the All Blacks and the Wallabies this year. It’s a must-win clash for the hosts, who will play two tests in Australia afterwards to determine Trans-Tasman rugby supremacy.
The two sides played out an entertaining, nearly 90 minutes of rugby at Wellington’s Sky Stadium last Sunday, which finished 16-all.
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