All Blacks: Four players join squad as injury cover

Four players have been called into the All Blacks squad this week to cover injury concerns, with the team arriving back in Wellington to prepare for the second Bledisloe Cup test.

All Blacks first five-eighths Beauden Barrett suffered a sore calf in the test in Sydney and will have a scan today to determine the extent of the injury, while Aaron Cruden is nursing a sore knee, and Daniel Carter is still overcoming a calf strain.

As a result, Canterbury backs Tom Taylor and Colin Slade have been called in as cover.

In the forwards, All Blacks lock Luke Romano will undergo a scan this week to determine the extent of the groin injury suffered in the Sydney test. With loose forward Liam Messam already nursing a hamstring injury, the All Blacks coaches have called in Canterbury loose forward Luke Whitelock and Wellington loose forward Brad Shields.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks coaches will also be running an apprentice-like programme for young hookers and inviting a young provincial / Super Rugby hooker into the All Blacks camp in each of the remaining three home test weeks (Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland).

The aim is to have the young hookers train with the squad, spend some time in the All Blacks environment and learn from the All Blacks experienced hooking duo of Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore. The first "apprentice" joining the squad in Wellington this week is Otago and Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman.

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