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New Zealand's Moody ruled out of Rugby Championship with broken thumb

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By Reuters
New Zealand's Moody ruled out of Rugby Championship with broken thumb
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - 2018 Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship - Australia v New Zealand - Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand - August 25, 2018 - New Zealand's Joe Moody celebrates with teammates after scoring a try. REUTERS/Ross Setford   -   Copyright  ROSS SETFORD(Reuters)

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – All Blacks prop Joe Moody has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby Championship after he broke his thumb in their 40-12 victory over Australia on Saturday.

Uncapped tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao has been called into the squad, with Karl Tu’inukuafe and Tim Perry to cover Moody’s absence on the loosehead side of the scrum.

“Moods has had an x-ray which has revealed a fracture in his left thumb,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said in a statement.

“He doesn’t need surgery but will be in a cast for six weeks and, unfortunately, will miss the rest of the … Rugby Championship.

“The good news is he’ll be back in time for the northern tour to Japan and Europe.”

Ta’avao, who was called in because of an injury to Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, is the second prop to have been drafted into the All Blacks after starting the season without a Super Rugby contract.

Tu’inukuafe also started the season without a full-time professional contract but was called into the All Blacks squad as injury cover for their test series against France in June.

Both were picked up by the Waikato Chiefs after all six of the Hamilton-based side’s originally contracted props were ruled out due to long-term injury.

“Angus had a big season for the Chiefs during the … Super Rugby season, was part of a very good Chiefs pack and has made big strides on the technical aspects of his position,” Hansen added.

The All Blacks have won their first two matches of the Rugby Championship with bonus-point victories over the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

The All Blacks re-assemble on Sunday in Nelson to prepare for their clash against Argentina on Sept. 8.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond)