Lots of squad updates from the various international camps as they prepare for a huge weekend of rugby action. The Maori, Samoa, Canada, and Scotland have all suffered major blows.
Piri Weepu, who damaged his knee in training the day before the Canada match, has been ruled out for the remaining match against the Eagles. So too Hika Elliot who strained his neck. Quentin MacDonald of Tasman and Chris Smylie from Taranaki have been called up as replacements.
The Canucks have had some terrible news that captain Aaron Carpenter and prop Doug Wooldridge are out of the tour after being injured in the Maori match. A long injury list also includes Jamie Cudmore, Ryan Hamilton, Jason Marshall, Tom Dolezel, Nathan Hirayama, and Sean Duke. Star three-quarter D.T.H. van der Merwe is also unavailable as his wife has just given birth to his first child.
Paul Williams suffered an undisclosed injury on the weekend and has been ruled out of the entire tour in what is a huge loss to their side. Bristol centre Fautua Otto has been summoned in his place. Captain David Lemi is doubtful for the Ireland match with a shoulder bang, and Daniel Leo isn’t yet recovered from a cracked elbow. Census Johnston is also in question, with uncapped Bordeaux veteran Benjamin Sa strangely preferred to Bath’s Anthony Perenise as tighthead cover.
As expected Scott Fardy has been ruled out of the Italian match after being carried off concussed against England, but he is expected to return later on during the tour. Tatafu Polota-Nau is set to return to bench duty in place of Saia Fainga’a after recovering from a long-term hamstring injury.
It’s all good news for England as Geoff Parling has recovered from concussion and Alex Corbisiero’s knee has calmed down. Both are expected to play against Argentina. Exciting 19 year old Bath fullback Anthony Watson has also been added to the squad.
Prolific winger Tim Visser has broken a fibula and will miss the November tests, and possibly the start of the Six Nations. Sean Lamont is expected to take his place in the lineup against Japan.
Their own big left wing, Julian Savea, is ill and doubtful for the France test. Charles Piutau is the most likely fill-in.
The excessive French domestic season is once again taking its toll early. Having already lost Thomas Domingo, Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, and Maxime Machenaud to injury, six further players are now question marks. Vincent Debaty, Yannick Nyanga, Jonathan Pelissie, Remi Tales, Camille Lopez, and Wesley Fofana all have problems that could preclude their involvement against the All Blacks.
After losing head coach Santiago Phelan via resignation and inspirational leader Juan Fernandez Lobbe to a broken elbow, the Pumas have also lost Juan Martin Hernandez to a thigh injury. New coach Daniel Hourcade has not named a replacement with Joaquin Tuculet expected to play fullback, and Juan Manuel Leguizamon taking over the tour captaincy.
Keith Earls is out of at least the Samoan test with patella tendonitis, but the remainder of the squad is looking more likely. Cian Healy, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien, Rory Best, and Jonny Sexton are all expected to take part in full training this week and be available for the big match at the weekend.
Leicester centre Vereniki Goneva is the biggest injury loss, but Stade Francais winger Waisea Nayacalevu has also been ruled out of the tour. Adriu Delai and Watisoni Votu have been summoned in their place. Meanwhile former captain Netani Talei is having apparent visa problems and his place has been filled by in-form Brive no8 Sisa Koyamaibole. It is hoped Talei will rejoin the tour party later on in the month.
Former captain Ovidiu Tonita has injured his knee in training and is replaced in the squad by CSM Bucuresti flanker Alexandru Mitu.