Fresh lock blow for All Blacks

Sun, 26 May 2013 12:19
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One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity

The All Blacks suffered a fresh setback on Sunday with senior lock Sam Whitelock ruled out of next month's Test series against France.

Whitelock fractured a finger during the Crusaders’ 19-28 to the Chiefs on Friday and could be out for up to six weeks, All Black coach Steve Hansen said.

Whitelock, who has played 39 Tests, was injured just a few days after 77-Test veteran Ali Williams announced his immediate retirement from international rugby.

"While this is disappointing for Sam, and for the All Blacks, one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity," Hansen said as the wider All Black training squad gathered for a two-day camp.

Hansen is expected to select rising stars Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick, who have only 35 Tests between them, to face France.

The uncapped Dominic Bird, who is in his first season of Super Rugby, is also in the training camp and is seen as the likely third lock in the Test squad.

The All Blacks open the Test series against France in Auckland on June 8.