Wairarapa shearer David Buick has been recalled to the New Zealand shearing team for a four-test series against Wales on the CP Wool tour in the UK.
A member of the 2017 team in the UK, Buick replaces Hawke's Bay shearer Cam Ferguson, who shore the first two tests of the tour either side of his third placing in last week's world championships final in France.
Ferguson, who spent three nights in hospital with back injuries after a road crash in Southern Hawke's Bay in late April, decided on his withdrawal from the rest of the tour after some indifferent form at the Great Yorkshire Show in England last Thursday.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan and team manager Ken Payne confirmed Pongaroa farmer Buick accepted the invitation without hesitation.
Ferguson and teammate and fellow Hawke's Bay gun Rowland Smith, who hails from Ruawai, were beaten by eventual world champion Scotland team of Gavin Mutch and Calum Shaw at the Lochearnhead Shears on June 29, in the one test before the world championships, and bounced-back last Thursday to beat England world championships combination Adam Berry and Stuart Connor at Harrowgate's Great Yorkshire Show.
Smith dominated the 20-sheep match with fastest time, by 7 seconds, and best result overall by more than three points from best-of-the-rest Berry.
It kept New Zealand in front and produced a victory by 2.65pts, despite Ferguson posting slowest time and lowest individual points.
Ferguson also missed out on a place in the Great Yorkshire All Nations open final in which Smith was runner-up to Mutch.
Beaten by just 0.15pts by Welsh shearer Richard Jones in the World Championships final four days earlier, Smith suffered an even narrower defeat in the six-man final of 20 sheep each at Harrowgate. He beat Mutch off the board by just a second, but the Scotsman's quality marks allowed him a win by just 0.1pts — some moral recompense after a surprise semifinal elimination at the world championships.
Buick had been first reserve after finishing third in the New Zealand Shears Open final in Te Kuiti on March 28, as Ferguson won his place in the team as runner-up to Smith who had claimed the first machine shearing position in the Allflex New Zealand World championships shearing and woolhandling team by retaining the Golden Shears Open title in Masterton four weeks earlier.
Smith and Buick will now shear the series against Wales at Cothi on Friday, Lampeter on Saturday, the Royal Welsh Show on July 22 and Corwen three days later.
New Zealand has not won any of the annual series in Wales since 2011, but Wales is yet to have a single test match win in its reciprocal tours downunder.
CP Wool UK Tour test match (20 sheep): New Zealand 124.65 (Rowland Smith 16min 31sec, 58.8pts; Cam Ferguson 17min 38sec, 65.85pts) beat England 127.3pts (Adam Berry 16min 38sec, 61.9pts; Stuart Connor 17min 21sec, 65.4pts) by 2.65pts.
Great Yorkshire All-Nations Open (20 sheep): Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 14min 43sec, 56pts, 1; Rowland Smith (New Zealand) 14min 42sec, 56.1pts, 2; Calum Shaw (Scotland) 15min 7sec, 57.9pts, 3; Adam Berry (England) 16min 2sec, 59.3pts, 4; Alun Lloyd Jones (Wales) 16min 15sec, 60.85pts, 5; Stuart Connor (England) 16min 59sec, 68.7pts, 6.