All Blacks call up Crotty

Ryan Crotty (Gallo Images)
Ryan Crotty (Gallo Images)

Wellington - Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty was rushed into the All Blacks squad Sunday as injury cover less than a week from their opening Rugby Championship game against Australia in Sydney.

The uncapped Crotty will cover for Francis Saili who suffered an ankle strain during an All Blacks' practice match in Wellington on Friday and is out of action for at least a week, the New Zealand Rugby Union said in a statement.

The 22-year-old Saili was one of three players selected to train with the All Blacks but were outside the Rugby Championship travelling squad. Crotty will fill the same role in training this week.

However, the statement was unclear whether he would also travel to Sydney given other injuries within the squad, particularly to Ma'a Nonu who is also nursing an ankle problem.

Both Nonu and injured prop Wyatt Crockett sat out Friday's practice game.

Crotty was called into the squad ahead of Rene Ranger, who made himself unavailable for the All Blacks ahead of his departure for France but said he could play in an emergency.

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