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July 11, 2023, 2:30 pm
Fiji News, Sports

Oli Jager, Asafo Aumua and Isaia Walker-Leawere leave All Blacks XV tour

Fiji One News Team
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All Blacks XV squad members Oli Jager, Isaia Walker-Leawere and Asafo Aumua have left Japan and returned to New Zealand for personal reasons.

They have been replaced by George Dyer, George Bell and Aidan Ross.

The announcement about tighthead prop Jager, lock Walker-Leawere and hooker Aumua returning home was made on social media on Tuesday.

The departure of the three players means they won’t play in the two-game tour. A NZ Rugby spokesperson confirmed they left for personal reasons. They farewelled the squad before the first match against a Japan XV in Tokyo last Saturday.

The All Blacks XV won that game 38-6. The next match against the Brave Blossoms – the Japan test team – is scheduled to be played in Tokyo on Saturday night.

1News understands that a run of successful coin tosses will allow New Zealand to wear their favoured black jersey for all four pool games in France.

Ricky Riccitelli started at hooker, and Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Quinten Strange were the locks in the match against the Japan XV. Jermaine Ainsley started at tighthead prop.

Aumua, having played six tests for the All Blacks between 2017 and 2021, was the most experienced of the three players that have returned to New Zealand.

He has been named to start in Wellington’s first Ranfurly Shield defence of the year against Horowhenua-Kapiti in Levin on Wednesday.