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Two All Blacks go down in Bledisloe win


Two All Blacks go down in Bledisloe win

The All Blacks have two holes to fill in their starting lineup for next weekend’s second Bledisloe Test at Eden Park.

Head Coach Steve Hansen confirmed after Saturday’s night 38-13 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney that both Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty would not feature in next Saturday’s rematch.

Crotty lasted just 12 minutes before he was taken off after a head clash with midfield partner Jack Goodhue, while Ioane suffered a strained hamstring early in the second half.

Anton Lienert-Brown – who replaced Crotty in the early stages – shapes as the likely contender for Crotty’s vacated No. 12 jersey, with barnstorming midfielder Ngani Laumape also presenting a solid case for inclusion.

“We’ve got a lot of faith in Anton … he’s never let us down,” Hansen said. “The reason we didn’t start him is we know he does that role off the bench really well, and it allowed Jack to start with a guy he knows really well.”

“Alby has been given an opportunity through injury and done really well. Having said that, we’ve got some quality people who can play that position, Ngani being one of them. We’ll make some decisions over the next few days.”

Ioane’s absence could trigger a backline reshuffle, with Jordie Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder the likely candidates to fill the void on the left wing. Another option for Hansen would be starting either Damian McKenzie or Barrett at fullback and shifting Ben Smith to the wing.

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Two All Blacks go down in Bledisloe win