Rugby Championship News

All Blacks call up Luatua for injured Messam

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 New Zealand’s blindside flanker Liam Messam has been forced to withdraw from the All Black Rugby team to face Australia in the Rugby Championship due to a hamstring strain.

Messam pulled up sore at training and the injury has forced All Black coach Steve Hansen to draft in inexperienced Blues forward Steven Luatua for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup clash.

“Liam Messam has been ruled out of Bledisloe Test after hamstring strain at training. Replaced in starting XV by Steven Luatua,” the All Blacks’ official Twitter feed said.

Luatua, 22, was not in Hansen’s 23-man squad to travel to Sydney and has only one Test cap, in the final match of the three-game series against France in June .

He is likely to face a torrid time against a Wallabies outfit fired-up by the appointment of new coach Ewen McKenzie and determined to end a decade of All Black dominance in trans-Tasman rugby.

New Zealand

Israel Dagg; Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Steven Luatua; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty

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