Rugby Championship: New Zealand lose three players to injury
New Zealand will be without Luke Romano, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett for Saturday's clash with Australia.
Last Updated: 20/08/13 8:40am
Lock Romano will miss the remainder of the tournament after suffering a groin injury during the All Blacks' 47-29 win in Sydney last weekend.
Cruden could be out for up to six weeks with a knee ligament injury while fellow fly-half Barrett has a minor calf strain but should be available for the visit of Argentina on 7 September.
"It's obviously hugely disappointing for Luke but he is a strong character and is already planning his rehab with our medical staff," said New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.
"We hopefully will have Beauden ready to prepare for the Argentina Test, while Aaron will start his knee rehabilitation later this week, which will give us a better indication of when he will be back playing."
Hansen has called up Colin Slade and Tom Taylor ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup rematch in Wellington, and both players will compete for the No 10 shirt.
"It's an exciting time for the replacement players Tom Taylor and Colin Slade and it's also a challenge now for the rest of the team to make their entry into the side as seamless as possible," said Hansen.
"Luckily Tom's been to a couple of camps, Colin's been in 10 Tests and been to a World Cup so both of them are reasonably comfortable, the game plan is not that too difficult.
"They've got to do their job, we've got to trust them and everyone else has just got to do theirs and do it really, really well.
"Bit of adversity doesn't hurt anybody, we had some last week and people stood up and were counted and that's the expectation this week.
"When we sit back and reflect, here's two athletes who weren't in our environment being bought in and will be exposed to it, and somewhere along the line I'm sure we'll get the reward for that."
Liam Messam has already been ruled out of Saturday's Test, with Luke Whitelock and Brad Shields also added to the squad as a precaution.