All Blacks: Sam Whitelock ruled out of second Test and a doubt for the rest of series

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

All Blacks second-row Sam Whitelock may be ruled out for the rest of the Test series against Ireland after suffering from delayed concussion symptoms.

As World Rugby looks to make the game safer, the new concussion stand-down period has increased from seven days to 12 as of July 1. This means Whitelock is out for the second Test and a massive doubt for the third.

Poor timing for Vaa’i

Chiefs star Tupou Vaa’i would be the obvious replacement but the second-row currently has Covid-19. All Blacks captain Sam Cane says Whitelock will be sorely missed whilst also feeling for Vaa’i, who would have had his chance.

“It’s not ideal. Sam was awesome in the weekend. He became the second most capped All Black of all time which is hugely impressive. We’ll no doubt miss his leadership and what he brings,” Cane said.

“Tupou had been playing well all Super Rugby and was hanging out for his opportunity so it’s a tough pill for him to swallow.

“We’ve got to the stage where anyone who hasn’t had it, it’s lurking and it’s going to strike soon and poor Tups had to get it this week.

“In terms of replacements it’s great to have a 40-odd test All Black in Patrick Tuipulotu to call in. He trained with us last week which was awesome so he’s up to speed and he’ll slip in pretty seamlessly.”

Retallick to call lineouts

In the absence of Whitelock, second-row partner Brodie Retallick will call the lineouts, something Cane is confident in as the All Blacks look to nullify the Irish set-piece.

“Sam runs our lineout particularly well. Brodie will take over that mantle,” Cane said. “He did that for the majority of the Rugby Championship last year so he’s ready and looking forward to doing that. It’s crazy he’s played 90-odd Tests and his locking partner has always been the one running the lineout. He’s done it at Super Rugby time and time again. Other than that it’ll be business as usual.

“It’s impressive the way it doesn’t fluster the boys they just get on and know someone else will step up. That’s the way it is again.”

Cane was happy with the performance last weekend but knows his side will need more in the second Test as the Irish push to level the series.

“We were lucky we managed to have a good period for the second period of the first half where we piled the points on but if you look at the rest of the Test it was fairly even. We know they’ll lift from last week but we certainly need to be better. If we deliver what we did last week this week, I don’t think it’ll be good enough,” he said.

“It’s always energising highlighting areas we can be better and where we made some shifts. Under the roof in the middle of winter to be playing in perfect conditions that excites this team that wants to play fast and use our skills.”

READ MORE: July internationals Team of the Week: All Blacks dominate after fine win over Ireland

The article All Blacks: Sam Whitelock ruled out of second Test and a doubt for the rest of series appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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