Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape has replaced the injured Braydon Ennor in the All Blacks Rugby Championship squad but is awaiting the go-ahead from team doctors.
Laumape has been sidelined since breaking his arm in a Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Crusaders in July and will not be considered for the upcoming two Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia.
However, the All Blacks on Tuesday confirmed that the 27-year-old has been called up for November’s scheduled Rugby Championship as a replacement for Braydon Ennor, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in New Zealand Rugby’s North vs South fixture. Laumape’s Hurricanes teammate Peter Umaga-Jensen has also been called into the squad as cover.
‘He’s not back to 100 [percent],’ All Blacks coach Ian Foster said about Laumape’s injury status. ‘He’s in a regulation check-up time and will train with us for a couple of days. We’re in Wellington, so it’s easy for him. He gets another specialist view later this week, early next week then we’ll make our plan accordingly.
‘He’s trending well but it’s a bone [injury] so the determination will be after he sees the specialist and the x-rays and see where we go from there.’
Laumape was in fantastic form during Super Rugby Aoteaora, forming a deadly partnership with Umaga-Jensen in the Hurricanes’ midfield, and so should give the All Blacks a different dimension at inside centre when he is fully fit.
Currently, the All Blacks can consider Jack Goodhue, Anton Leinert-Brown and Reiko Ioane as their centre options for the Bledisloe Cup Tests.
Foster also revealed that lock Scott Barrett is in camp and close to recovering from a foot injury which ruled him out of the entirety of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
‘He’s really good. He’s in here all week and last week got through a return to play process. He’s not scrummaging fully yet, so he’s still got a little way to go, but he got through some light scenarios.’
The All Blacks will name their team for the first Test against the Wallabies on Friday.
Photo: Kerry Marshall/Getty Images