Rugby News

Rugby-Laumape called into All Blacks squad

WELLINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Midfield wrecking ball Ngani Laumape has been called up to the All Blacks squad as an injury replacement for Braydon Ennor, the team said on Tuesday, though he has still not recovered fully from a broken arm.

Wellington Hurricanes’ Laumape missed out on Steve Hansen’s World Cup squad in Japan last year and his 2020 season looked in jeopardy when he suffered the arm injury during the Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament in July.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster told reporters in Wellington on Tuesday that Laumape would train with the squad but Sunday’s season-opening Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies in Wellington was too soon for him.

“No, he’s not back to 100 (percent). He’s in a regulation check-up time and will train with us for a couple of days,” Foster said.

“We’re in Wellington so it’s easy for him. He gets another specialist view later this week, early next week then we’ll make our plan accordingly.

“He’s trending well but it’s a bone (injury) so the determination will be after he sees the specialist and the x-rays and see where we go from there.”

Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Rieko Ioane are the midfield options for Sunday’s clash, but Laumape’s elevation could see him make an extended squad for the Rugby Championship in Australia next month.

Explosive with ball in hand, 27-year-old Laumape played the last of his 13 tests off the bench in August last year, a 36-0 thrashing of the Wallabies at Eden Park.

His midfield partner at the Hurricanes, Peter Umaga-Jensen, has also joined the All Blacks squad as injury cover, the team said.

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing Peter Rutherford