Daniel Braid has been called into the New Zealand squad ahead of Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup showdown with Australia.
The openside flanker had been expected to join the All Blacks in Wellington after recovering from a calf injury and spending time with the squad in Dunedin prior to their Tri-Nations defeat to South Africa.
The 27-year-old suffered the injury playing for New Zealand Maori against Fiji in June but has come through three matches in the past week – including Auckland’s Ranfurly Shield win over Poverty Bay – with no ill-effects and is being tipped to make his return to the Test side in Sydney this Saturday in the wake of Richie McCaw’s continuing absence with an ankle injury.
The All Blacks opted for a combination of Adam Thomson and Rodney So’oialo against South African but seem likely to go for a specialist openside against the Australians, who are coached by New Zealander Robbie Deans.
Braid has not played for the All Blacks since the World Cup in 2003 but is refusing to get carried away by his recall.
“I’m pretty happy but it’s just in the training squad,” he told One News after a game for his University club in Auckland.
“Who knows who will play in the 22. I’m just getting the opportunity to go down there (to Wellington) and train and if they take me (to Sydney) that’s great.”
The All Blacks re-assemble in Wellington on Sunday before heading to Sydney on Thursday.