All Blacks lose Messam & Whitelock for Springboks

New Zealand’s All Blacks have lost Liam Messam and Sam Whitelock for their Rugby championship match against South Africa’s Springboks this weekend.

Messam scored a try against Argentina on Saturday but in the process of scoring the try he injured a quadriceps muscle and could be out for weeks.

Lock Whitelock was forced to leave the field in the first half of the All Blacks 28-9 victory over Argentina with a damaged rib cartilage.

The news is a big blow for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as they face the team ranked closest to them in the IRB world rankings South Africa.

“The worst case scenario is (they are) out for probably four weeks. Best case scenario – probably three,” Hansen told AFP.

Messam’s injury leaves the All Blacks a little thin a flanker as Steven Luatua missed the match day squad for Argentina but is next in line for selection as Jerome Kaino is still suffering from an elbow injury.

The All Blacks second row stocks are in an even worse situation as sixth-choice Jeremy Thrush who came on as a replacement is likely to start against South Africa alongside Brodie Retallick.

Patrick Tuipulotu (ankle) and Dominic Bird (toe) are still on the injured list while Luke Romano broke his leg playing Super Rugby and has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship.

Despite the injuries Hansen said that he was pleased with the way the All Blacks performace against Argentina and said that they still plan to play “positive rugby”.

All Black captain Richie McCaw confirmed that they are fully committed to playing a 15 man game and rejected the suggested that if it is wet when they face South Africa in Wellington they would resort to a kicking game.

“I don’t think that suits us totally. We want to be able, even when it’s like that, to be better than the opposition, at being able to use our skills under pressure,” he said.

“You’ve got a bunch of guys from numbers one to 15 who want to run with the ball, play with the ball, and if we can create opportunities to do that regardless of the conditions I think that makes it pretty tough for the opposition.”

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