Maori All Blacks vs Ireland: Bundee Aki named captain as knee injury ends Iain Henderson’s tour All of Ireland’s uncapped players start on Wednesday morning; Will Jordan added to list of All Blacks’ Covid absentees.
Iain Henderson’s tour is over effectively before it began after the 30-year-old Ulster captain suffered a knee injury during the Irish squad’s training session in Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium last Saturday. Henderson has been ruled out of the remainder of Ireland’s five-match tour although the extent of the damage and his period of rehabilitation has still to be ascertained.
This latest blow completes an unfortunate season for the 63-times capped Henderson, who started the November wins over the All Blacks and Argentina, but since when he has only started Ireland’s concluding Six nations game against Scotland, having previously played off the bench away to France and England.
Whereas Niall Scannell has arrived as additional cover at hooker after being summoned from his holidays in Portugal after Rob Herring was ruled out of the opening two games of Ireland’s tour, no secondrow replacement has, as yet, been called up.
Scannell arrived in Auckland in time to take part in the Irish squad’s Tuesday training session with the help of some borrowed boots and, pending the arrival of his kit bag from Limerick, has been named on the bench for Ireland’s tour opener against the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton’s FMG Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 7.05pm local time/8.05am Irish)