All Blacks Fly-Halves to Miss Australia Match; McMeniman Out

New Zealand will be without fly-halves Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett for this weekend’s Rugby Championship match against Australia in Wellington, while lock Luke Romano will miss the rest of the tournament.

Cruden injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 47-29 win against the Wallabies in Sydney three days ago and may be out for as many as six weeks, New Zealand Rugby said today. Barrett has a minor calf strain and should be fit to face Argentina in Hamilton on Sept. 7.

With first-choice fly-half Dan Carter still recovering from a calf injury, Colin Slade and rookie Tom Taylor will come into the squad to face Australia on Aug. 24 as top-ranked New Zealand seeks to retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 11th straight series.

“It’s an exciting time for the replacement players and it’s also a challenge now for the rest of the team to make their entry into the side as seamless as possible,” All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, who is scheduled to name his team in two days, said in the statement.

Second-rower Romano will miss the rest of the southern hemisphere’s annual championship after tearing a groin tendon in the opener, New Zealand Rugby added. Romano is not expected to be available until the All Blacks tour Europe in November.

Australia back-row forward Hugh McMeniman, who played his first Test for the Wallabies since 2008 last weekend, was today ruled out until next year because he needs a shoulder reconstruction, the team said.

The 29-year-old McMeniman, who carried a pre-existing shoulder issue throughout the 2013 Super Rugby competition, will undergo surgery next week that will sideline him for six months.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.