Liam Messam Adds To All Blacks Injury Woes

Following the news that Dan Carter will miss the first two Rugby Championship games, New Zealand have suffered a late injury blow ahead of Saturday’s opening match against Australia after Liam Messam pulled a hamstring in training.

Messam had been named in the starting XV at blindside flanker by head coach Steve Hansen before being forced to withdraw from the team. Initial reports suggested the Chiefs forward could be on the sidelines for up to three weeks.

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Steven Luatua has replaced Messam in the All Blacks team for the game at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium after initially being released to play for Auckland in New Zealand’s domestic provincial championship this weekend.

Luatua, 22, has made only one Test appearance in the final match of the three-game series against France in June.

New Zealand: Dagg, B Smith, C Smith, Nonu, Savea, Cruden, A Smith, Read, McCaw (capt), Luatua, Whitelock, Romano, Franks, Hore, Woodcock. 
Replacements: 
Mealamu, Franks, Faumuina, Retallick, Cane, Kerr-Barlow, Barrett, Crotty.

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