July 19 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand dropped winger Rene Ranger and flanker Liam Messam from its Tri-Nations rugby squad for the July 31 match against Australia in Melbourne.
Ranger was replaced by Joe Rokocoko in the 26-man roster named today even after scoring on his starting debut two days ago in the 31-17 win over South Africa. Victor Vito, who missed that match because of a calf injury, comes in for Messam.
Scrum-half Alby Mathewson will assemble with the squad as cover for Piri Weepu, who is preparing for the birth of his first child, the New Zeland Rugby Union said.
The All Blacks head the Tri-Nations standings with 10 points from back-to-back victories over the world champion Springboks, who face Australia on July 24 in Brisbane.
ALL BLACKS SQUAD:
Forwards: John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly, Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Brad Thorn, Victor Vito, Samuel Whitelock, Tony Woodcock.
Backs: Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Alby Mathewson, Mils Muliaina, Ma’a Nonu, Josevata Rokocoko, Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Piri Weepu.
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