Weepu added to All Blacks squad for Argentina, South Africa

The Canadian Press
9/19/2013 4:28:46 PM
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Veteran scrumhalf Piri Weepu has been added to New Zealand's 28-man squad for Rugby Championship tests in Argentina and South Africa.

The 30-year-old Weepu hasn't played for the All Blacks since the third test against France in June after which he was dropped from the squad and told to improve his fitness.

He returns for the Argentina and South Africa tour as a replacement for 21-year-old T.J. Perenara, who has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be sidelined for six weeks.

Tom Taylor, who made his All Blacks debut against Australia in Wellington last month, has been included in place of Dan Carter, who has a shoulder injury.

"We have selected Piri as a replacement for two reasons," coach Steve Hansen said.

"One, given the environments we are going into it would be unfair to bring in a novice halfback, and secondly, we have also seen advances in his game in the areas we asked him to improve in.

"T.J. has suffered a stress fracture in his lower left leg and is expected to be out of rugby for at least six weeks and therefore will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship.

"It's obviously a huge disappointment for him and us because, even though he hasn't had any game time yet for the All Blacks, he has been developing well within the squad."

Captain Richie McCaw has been included in the touring squad, though he is still affected by a knee ligament injury.

"With Richie, we believe that the best chance of having him available to play against South Africa (in Johannesburg) is by having him travel with the squad and getting hands-on treatment from the All Blacks medical staff," Hansen added.

New Zealand leads the Rugby Championship and is unbeaten after four games.


All Blacks: Forwards: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read. Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Tom Taylor, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

Piri Weepu (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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