Uncapped George Bower, Du'Plessis Kirifi bolster All Blacks
WELLINGTON - Uncapped prop George Bower and loose forward Du'Plessis Kirifi have been called into New Zealand's Rugby Championship squad, the team said on Tuesday.
Bower and Kirifi were called in by coach Ian Foster to cover the possible absence of Joe Moody through concussion, while Nepo Laulala and Ardie Savea are to remain temporarily in New Zealand on paternity leave.
Lock Mitchell Dunshea and midfield backs Ngani Laumape and Peter Umaga-Jensen, who were brought into the squad as injury cover during the two Bledisloe Cup tests against Australia, have been added to the squad.
An initial 36-man All Blacks squad heads to Sydney on Sunday for the abridged Rugby Championship with Australia and Argentina after the world champion Springboks withdrew last week.
Savea and Laulala will join the team later.
All Blacks squad
Backs: Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Rieko Ioane, Ngani Laumape, Anton Lienert-Brown, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Beauden Barrett, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber.
Forwards: Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu, Scott Barrett, Mitchell Dunshea, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa'i, Samuel Whitelock, George Bower, Alex Hodgman, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Joe Moody, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor.