Toomaga-Allen gets All Blacks call
Wellington prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen has received a late callup to join the All Blacks squad to tour north after Canterbury's Joe Moody suffered a broken leg in the national provincial final on Saturday night.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed today Moody had been a forced withdrawal, and he had decided to call in the promising Toomaga-Allen as a loosehead specialist, even though he's been playing on the tighthead side for the Lions.
"We could have easily taken a tighthead prop but we really feel the need to develop another loosehead with both Woody (Tony Woodcock) and Wyatt [Crockett] being a little older," said Hansen.
"We've been quietly working away with a wee project with Jeff Toomaga-Allen playing tighthead but actually doing some work on the loosehead. So he will come in as loosehead replacement for the tour."
The 22-year-old is considered one of New Zealand's most promising props and has been on the All Blacks' radar all year. He had a strong season for the Lions in the provincial competition.
"He's a really good athlete, and we look forward to having him work with us," said Hansen.
The All Blacks coach said they had looked closely at Toomaga-Allen and been impressed with what they had seen. "He's been on the radar for a little while, and now it's an opportunity to have him in our environment and see what he can do."
It was a bitter blow for Moody who had earned his All Balck callup on the back of a series of strong performances for the Cantabs who claimed their sixth straight national championship with a 29-13 victory over Wellington last night.
"Joe broken a bone in his leg, the fibula," said Hansen, "We've spoken to him and he's obviously very disappointed but we've reassured him you can't lose too much ground when you're injured.
"He's just got to deal with the adversity as best he can, get back into a positive frame of mind, get back to working hard and use the Super 15 to continue to impress us."
Meanwhile Hansen announced his 10 players who will bypass the week in Japan and head straight to Paris to prepare for the test against France on November 9.
Stand-in skipper Kieran Read heads a group that also includes Tony Woodcock, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Israel Dagg, Aaron Cruden, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Luke Romano and additional squad member Ardie Savea. Romano and Jane are still recovering from injuries, while Ardie Savea is an extra to the official touring suad of 36.
All But Cruden will fly out of New Zealand for Paris next Friday, with Cruden heading to Tokyo on the same day to complete a sponsorship commitment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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