ABs release quartet, call up McKenzie

Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fifita have all been released to the Hurricanes for Tuesday’s match against the British & Irish Lions.

The four players were originally in the All Blacks squad for the three-Test series against the Lions, but they were surplus to requirements for the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday, when New Zealand won 30-15.

The Hurricanes have since named all four returning players in their starting lineup for the game on Tuesday, with Barrett and Savea forming a back three with Nehe Milner-Skudder. Laumape is partnered with Vince Aso in midfield and Fifita plays on the side of the scrum.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks have called up the diminutive Damian McKenzie as injury cover for Ben Smith. The star All Blacks fullback was withdrawn mid-game against the Lions on Saturday due to a concussion. It is the third concussion Smith has suffered this season and places his participation in the remainder of the Test series in doubt.

Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett; 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea; 10 Otere Black, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi; 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7  Callum Gibbins, 6 Vaea Fifita; 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott; 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Subs: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 James Blackwell, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Wes Goosen, 23 Cory Jane.

Photo: Getty Images

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Mariette Adams