05 August 2008

All Blacks call in Toeava

Auckland's Isaia Toeava will join the All Blacks squad for the South African leg of the Philips Tri Nations.

Toeava returns to the All Blacks as an injury replacement for fullback Leon MacDonald who is making a gradual return from concussion.

Meanwhile wing Rudi Wulf will not travel to Cape Town as the All Blacks selectors have opted to include three halfbacks in the 26-man travelling squad, a decision that will see Wellington’s Piri Weepu fly out with the team on Friday morning.

Weepu is also set to play in Thursday night’s Air New Zealand Cup match against a North Harbour team that will feature fellow All Black Anthony Tuitavake on the wing.

“Isaia is currently at fullback for Auckland and has played there previously at the international and the Rebel Sport Super 14 level,” said All Blacks coach Graham Henry. “He’s also got the ability to play elsewhere in the backline which is helpful when we are a long way from home.

“Leon is improving, but the medical advice is to take things slowly,” Henry added. “He’ll gradually get back into exercise and then training and then may look to play an Air New Zealand Cup match.”

While Wulf sprained an MCL in provincial rugby last week, he could be able to resume training this week. However, the All Blacks needed to omit a player from the travelling squad, Henry noted, and Wulf’s injury question mark tipped the decision.

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