WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Veteran All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock has been ruled out of Saturday’s second rugby test against Ireland, along with his potential replacement Tupou Vaa’i.
Whitelock has been diagnosed with a delayed-onset concussion and might also miss the third test under World Rugby protocols which mandate a 12-day stand down for a player who sustains a concussion.
Vaa’i also has been ruled out of the test at Dunedin after testing positive for COVID-19.
New Zealand Rugby has approved a request from the All Blacks coaches to call up former Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu who recently returned to New Zealand after a six-month sabbatical in Japan.
Tuipulotu has played 41 matches for the All Blacks without being able to establish himself as a first-choice selection.
The All Blacks also have the option of moving Scott Barrett from the blindside flank to the second row where he plays alongside Whitelock in Super Rugby.
New Zealand won the first test of the three-test series 42-19 at Auckland’s Eden Park. The third test is in Wellington on July 16.
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