James McGougan earns Junior ABs call up
Chiefs prop James McGougan has been called into the Junior All Blacks as cover for Jamie Mackintosh who will have an eye injury investigated.
Mackintosh won't travel with the squad to Samoa on Thursday to prepare for the opening match of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in Apia this weekend.
Mackintosh, an All Black on last season's end of year tour, has been troubled by what appears to be a fractured eye socket and will seek further medical advice on the injury.
That means the rapid rise of McGougan, a Bay of Plenty front rower, continues.
He became a stalwart of the Chiefs pack this year, helping them to the Super 14 final against the Bulls.
If Mackintosh is able to play in the tournament's time frame he will rejoin the squad.
The Junior All Blacks completed their New Zealand training in Auckland on Wednesday ahead of the tournament that they dominated before being replaced by New Zealand Maori last year.
Now back in favour the Juniors face a hectic few weeks playing in tropical conditions.
After playing Samoa on Saturday (NZ time), they face three matches in Fiji as the tournament switches there for what is being deemed "a festival of rugby".
The Junior All Blacks play Fiji and Japan in Lautoka before meeting Tonga in Suva on July 2 to wrap up the tournament.