New Zealand’s veteran lock Sam Whitelock was on Tuesday ruled out of the second Test against Ireland after reporting delayed concussion from the first Test victory.
Reserve lock Tupou Vaa’i was also scratched from Saturday’s Dunedin Test after becoming the latest member of the New Zealand entourage to test positive for Covid-19.
Seasoned second-row forward Patrick Tuipulotu, who only recently returned from playing in Japan, had been rushed into the New Zealand squad, said an All Blacks spokesperson.
Whitelock, a veteran of 133 Tests, was one of the stars of the All Blacks’ 42-19 victory in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday.
His absence will force a reshuffle of the New Zealand pack with Scott Barrett likely to move from blindside flanker to his more familiar role as a lock.
Backs David Havili, Jack Goodhue and Will Jordan have been cleared to resume full training with the squad after all testing positive for Covid last week.