Nonu and Kaino doubts for Wallabies rematch

New Zealand look set to be without two of their most experienced campaigners in Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino for their re-match with Australia this weekend. [more]

Steve Hansen

New Zealand look set to be without two of their most experienced campaigners in Ma’a Nonu and Jerome Kaino for their re-match with Australia this weekend.

Both players suffered injuries during the All Blacks’ 12-12 draw in Sydney last weekend that kicked off the Rugby Championship.

This weekend sees the Wallabies cross the Tasman to play at Eden Park, a ground that they have not won at since 1986, but they will be buoyed by All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster’s assessment of Nonu and Kaino. 

"They had scans yesterday, and we'll know more about that tomorrow, but it's highly unlikely they'll be
playing on Saturday."

Neither player was able to train today and Foster admitted the outlook was pretty negative, he added: "The signs are they won't be playing on Saturday."

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While Kaino’s absence can be easily covered by the likes of Liam Messam and Steven Luatua, the loss of Nonu – who faced the British & Irish Lions back in 2005 – is of more concern.

The All Blacks management have the choice of bringing replacement Ryan Crotty in at inside centre or shifting Malakai Fekitoa in one from 13.

"The 12 side for Malakai is more of a longer-term prospect," Foster added. "He's designated to cover 12 on the bench. He's spent more and more time there and is looking a little more comfortable.

"So we've got to weigh that up versus the likes of Ryan coming in and carrying on what he did [in Sydney]." 

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