All Blacks No.8 Ardie Savea and prop Nepo Laulala are on paternity leave and will miss the third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia next weekend, coach Ian Foster has said.
For the second week in a row, the All Blacks have been forced to make a late change to their team to face the Wallabies.
Reiko Ioane, who had already been dropped to the bench for Bledisloe 2 after a below-par showing in Game 1, has been ruled out of the Eden Park clash with a hamstring strain.
Ioane has been replaced in the team by Wellington centre Peter Umaga-Jensen, who is yet to play a Test for the All Blacks.
Although the 22-year-old has some experience out wide, the swap does leave the side lacking depth on the wings should Caleb Clarke or Jordie Barrett be forced from the field, but with Sevu Reece released by the side to play Mitre 10 Cup this weekend, there were few other options for Ian Foster and his fellow selectors.
It means that, for the second consecutive match, the All Blacks have multiple debutants on the bench. Tupou Vaa’i, Hoskins Sotutu and Clarke all earnt their first Test caps from the reserves in Wellington, while Umaga-Jensen and prop Alex Hodgman are the uncapped substitutes for Game 2.
Meanwhile, the Wallabies had an injury scare of their own on matchday eve, with number eight Harry Wilson failing to show up for the team photo as he battled a stomach virus.
The young Reds backrower was a standout performer on debut in Game 1, making a significant impact in the contact zone against the more experienced New Zealand pack.
Thankfully for the Wallabies, it has since been reported Wilson has been passed fit to play and will take his place at the back of the scrum at Eden Park today.