All Blacks suffer injury setback ahead of SA trip
NEWS: The New Zealand team suffered an injury setback on the eve of their departure for South Africa.
All Black prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi has withdrawn from the team’s Rugby Championship matches in South Africa because of a neck injury, coach Ian Foster confirmed Tuesday.
Tu’ungafasi, 30, picked up the knock during the third Test loss to Ireland in Wellington, which saw the All Blacks suffer a first home series defeat since 1994.
He will sit out New Zealand’s Test matches in South Africa on August 6 in Nelspruit and a week later in Johannesburg, with the All Blacks under pressure against the world champions after losing four of their last five games.
It is hoped Tu’ungafasi will recover in time to join the squad for their home Tests against Argentina on August 27 in Christchurch and a week later in Hamilton.
Tu’ungafasi joins the list of All Blacks who will not travel to South Africa, which includes Brodie Retallick, Jack Goodhue and Nepo Laulala.
Tu’ungafasi has been replaced in the All Blacks squad by uncapped Crusaders prop Fletcher Newell for the tour of South Africa.
The 22-year-old has been rewarded for his performances at Super Rugby level, as well as his strong showings for Canterbury at provincial level.