Rugby-All Blacks report clean bill of health going into Italy match

  • Rugby
  • Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - New Zealand Training - INSEP, Paris, France - September 7, 2023 New Zealand's Sam Cane with teammates during training REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/File Photo

LYON, France (Reuters) - The four players on the injury list before the All Blacks headed off to southwest France for the bye week, including skipper Sam Cane, are available for selection for Friday's match against Italy, assistant coach Jason Ryan said on Tuesday.

Head coach Ian Foster, who will name his team for the Pool A match on Wednesday, will have flanker Shannon Frizell, prop Tyrel Lomax and centre Jordie Barrett available for the first time at the tournament.

Openside flanker Cane was named to start the tournament opening loss to hosts France at Stade de France but was withdrawn shortly before the match kicked off with a back problem.

Frizell, who started at blindside flanker throughout New Zealand's Rugby Championship triumph, has been struggling with a hamstring problem, forcing Foster to tinker with his back row.

Tighthead Lomax sustained a nasty cut to his leg that damaged the muscle and required 30 stitches in the 35-7 warm-up loss to South Africa in London last month.

Barrett, first choice at inside centre this year, has been nursing a sore knee since arriving in France with Foster reluctant to risk making it worse by playing him in the games against France and Namibia.

New Zealand will be without loosehead prop Ethan de Groot for the match in Lyon as he serves the first match in a two-game ban for a dangerous tackle in New Zealand's 71-3 win over Namibia.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Toby Davis)

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