All Blacks No8 Kieran Read has been ruled out of the first test against England at Eden Park on Saturday with a recurrence of his concussion symptoms.
On a relatively dramatic morning for the All Blacks, fellow loose forward Sam Cane has been ruled out for the series due to a fracture in his knee, and wing Julian Savea is in doubt with a knee problem of his own. Savea will have a scan this afternoon.
The ruling out of Read after he woke yesterday with a negative reaction to the 80 minutes he played in his comeback game for the Crusaders against the Force in Christchurch is significant. He took a long time - five weeks - to recover from his injury caused by a high tackle against the Chiefs in the middle of April.
Read looked a little bashed up at the squad naming announcement in Auckland on Sunday but stated he was good to go against England. However, his symptoms a day later suggested otherwise and the medical team decided to withdraw him.
In Jerome Kaino the All Blacks have a ready made replacement for Read, with Victor Vito also in good form.
"He's frustrated as you would be, but we're very lucky that we've got very capable people who can fill in in his place and JK and Victor have been performing very well," said coach Steve Hansen.
Asked if he was concerned about Read's wellbeing, Hansen said: "We've been through it before with a certain Richie McCaw. We've got really good faith in the people looking after him.
"Long term, I'm not too concerned."
Steven Luatua has been brought into the squad as cover for Read, with Matt Todd, who has been recovering from a calf problem at the Crusaders, added as cover for Cane.
Hansen said Todd was a possibility be named on the reserves bench as cover for McCaw.
He added of the potential for disruption the injuries posed: "They're only disruptions if we allow them to be. Rugby is a contact sport and we're going to have people get injured and we just have to deal with it."
More to come...