All Blacks bring in explosive midfielder for Rugby Champs
NEWS: Ngani Laumape has been called into the All Blacks squad for next month’s Rugby Championship in Australia.
After much speculation over the past few weeks, the news was confirmed by the All Blacks on social media on Tuesday, with Laumape replacing Braydon Ennor, who has been sidelined for the season after rupturing his ACL in the North vs South match.
Laumape had missed out on the initial 35-man squad to face the Wallabies in the first two Bledisloe Cup matches, kicking off this weekend in Wellington, due to a broken forearm sustained during a Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Crusaders.
Prior to that injury, the 27-year-old stood out as one of the most impressive performers in the New Zealand Super Rugby competition through his explosive ball carrying, underrated speed and subtle touches in his game.
He was subsequently regarded a lock-in pick for the first All Blacks squad of the year, but the injury that has kept him out of action for two months robbed him of that chance.
UPDATE: Ngani Laumape has joined the All Blacks Rugby Championship squad as replacement for the injured Braydon Ennor. Wellington midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen has also joined the squad as cover. #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/2ZCdYa8ZUl
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 5, 2020
However, Laumape now has the chance to add to his 13 Test caps, although his next appearance in the black jersey isn’t likely to be on Sunday when the All Blacks square off against the Wallabies at Sky Stadium.
Laumape will be joined in a strong midfield contingent – that also consists of Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue – by his uncapped Hurricanes teammate Peter Umaga-Jensen.
The 22-year-old created a formidable midfield pairing with Laumape for the Wellington franchise throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa, and has been rewarded with a call up into Ian Foster’s squad as cover.
Impressing with his strong running lines and distribution skills, Umaga-Jensen becomes the second player called into the squad as injury cover after uncapped Crusaders lock Mitchell Dunshea was last week brought in to replace the injured Quinten Strange.
It is unlikely either will feature against the Wallabies this week, although all will be revealed when the All Blacks team is announced on Friday.
By Alex McLeod, @RugbyPass