WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick has been ruled out of the first test against France on Saturday, increasing pressure on the All Blacks who face a steadily mounting injury toll.
Retallick withdrew from the squad on Monday because of a pectoral muscle injury. His regular locking partner and captain Sam Whitelock is in doubt as he recovers from concussion.
Skipper Kieran Read is unavailable as he recuperates from back surgery and center Sonny Bill Williams is out of the series after knee surgery.
Inside center Ryan Crotty is also in doubt for Saturday’s test against France because of a head injury and concern surrounds the fitness of backrowers Sam Cane and Jordan Taufua who missed Super Rugby matches last weekend. Cane has an abdominal muscle injury and Taufua has a calf strain.
Head coach Steve Hansen on Monday added locks Luke Romano and Tom Franklin and flanker Matt Todd to his squad as injury cover.
Meanwhile, backrower Liam Squire is free to play in the match after being cleared of foul play at a judicial hearing on Sunday.
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