WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand captain Kieran Read will miss the Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Buenos Aires next week, instead joining the team for their final match of the competition in South Africa, coach Steve Hansen has said.
“We always had a plan to manage Kieran’s long-haul travel this year following his return to rugby after back surgery,” Hansen said of the 32-year-old number eight.
“So he’ll miss the trip to Argentina and re-join the squad in South Africa for the test against the Springboks.”
The side are due to leave New Zealand for Argentina later on Friday and loose forward Vaea Fifita, who was not in the original Rugby Championship squad, has been called in for the South American leg of the trip, the All Blacks said on Twitter.
Hooker Dane Coles, who had initially been targeted to return for the final two games of the southern hemisphere championship, has also been left out of the squad.
He has yet to play since rupturing knee ligaments against France on New Zealand’s end-of-season tour last year.
Brodie Retallick (shoulder) and Ngani Laumape (knee), who were under injury clouds, have also been omitted from the travelling squad.
The All Blacks, who lead the standings on 16 points after four games, face Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sept. 30 before meeting the Springboks in Pretoria on Oct. 6.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O’Brien)