The All Blacks will be without two pivotal players as they look to clinch the three-Test series against Ireland in Dunedin on Saturday.
New Zealand’s 133-Test-capped lock Sam Whitelock was on Tuesday ruled out of the second Test after reporting delayed concussion from last week’s victory.
Reserve lock Tupou Vaa’i was also scratched from the Dunedin Test on Saturday after becoming the latest member of the New Zealand entourage to test Covid-19 positive.
Seasoned lock Patrick Tuipulotu, who only recently returned from playing in Japan, had been rushed into the New Zealand squad, said an All Blacks spokesperson.
Whitelock was one of the stars of the All Blacks’ 42-19 win in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday.
His absence will force a reshuffle of the New Zealand pack with Scott Barrett likely to move from blindside flank to his more familiar role as a lock.
Backs David Havili, Jack Goodhue and Will Jordan have been cleared to resume full training with the squad after all testing positive last week.
© Agence France-Presse