• Taylor replaces ‘embarrassed’ Cruden

    Tom Taylor has replaced Aaron Cruden in the All Blacks squad for their matches against the Pumas in La Plata and Springboks in Johannesburg.

    Cruden was dropped after going out drinking on Saturday night and missing the team's flight to Argentina.

    Taylor impressed on his starting debut for the All Blacks against the Wallabies last year and acts as backup to Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade. Barrett is expected to wear the No 10 jersey on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, Cruden has issued a statement saying he is embarrassed and disappointed in himself.

    'On Saturday night, whilst out for an informal dinner in Auckland, I made a poor decision regarding the limits of my alcohol intake,' he said. 'This has resulted in the unacceptable action of me being absent from All Blacks assembly on Sunday morning and thus missing the team flight to Argentina.

    'I am deeply embarrassed by this lack of judgement and have never been more disappointed in myself. I have not only let myself down, but most importantly, I have let my team down.

    'I carry the burden of shame and disappointment and I am deeply apologetic to my team, to my family, and also the New Zealand public.

    'I have no excuses. I have been working really hard over the past few years at gaining respect on the field as well as off the field and am devastated I have dropped my own high personal standards, as well as the standards set by New Zealand Rugby.

    'I accept full responsibility for my actions and the penalty of missing the next two games, and I will work with New Zealand Rugby to undertake any other disciplinary action to work through this situation.'

    Photo: Anothony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

    Post by

    Simon Borchardt