Jordie Barrett out, David Havili in

Lynn McConnell     10 Aug 2017    

The All Blacks gathered in Auckland on Thursday to prepare for their game of three halves against Counties Manukau and Taranaki at Pukekohe on Friday as lead-up to their opening Championship game next weekend against Australia in Sydney.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said at a media conference in Auckland that
Barrett had scans on the shoulder he injured in the Investec Super Rugby semifinal for the Hurricanes against the Lions and they revealed he would need an operation.

"If it is an operation that is going to knock him out for the rest of the year.

"While it's disappointing for him he's probably already had a big year and he's too young an athlete to play through something like this," he said.

Foster said he didn't have a lot of information about the injury and its origins but he said it was a clear cut injury where ligament had come off and a 'basic reattachment' would be required.

However, more complete details would be available once assessed by the All Blacks' medical personnel.

In the worst case scenario the rehabilitation tended to be over four to six months.

"It's a chance for him to get that right and have a big pre-season and jump back into it next year.

"It's pretty frustrating for him, he's had an amazing six months," he said.

"Clearly when he reflects on the year it has been a massive year for him. He's done magnificently well in the Hurricanes' environment and come in and had a couple of Test matches and started a pretty big one and has done himself proud."

Havili's arrival at the camp had been delayed along with the rest of the Crusaders contingent, and team coach Steve Hansen, due to fog at Christchurch Airport.

Foster said Havili's elevation was well earned.

"He's a player who's really grown in the last few years and this year, whilst he's a utility, he stepped into that fullback role really well and we think he's done a great job of it and [we're] really interested in the skill set that he brings.

"He's a reasonably experienced footballer now and clearly he'll have some things to offer but like I said, he's played in a number of positions so he brings that to the table.

"But he's looked very settled at fullback and it's just nice to reward a player who's played his way in with good form, and that's really what he's done," Foster said.

While he had been looked at for some time, it had been more in his mid-field role which was already competitive but his move to fullback had widened the scope the selectors looked at him through.

"I think going to fullback he's got a kick, he's a great ball carrier in terms of his leg drive and in the tackle he's physical in that area and certainly he's grown in his defensive accuracy and what he does there.

"He brings a nice all-round skill set that we've been interested in for a while without being able to find a place," he said.