4 Jul 2006

All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu out of rugby for six weeks

6:48 am on 4 July 2006

The midfield back Sam Tuitupou joins the All Blacks squad today as a replacement for Ma'a Nonu -- whose broken thumb poses more questions about the long-term replacement for Tana Umaga at centre.

Nonu suffered the injury playing centre in club rugby at the weekend, and will need minor surgery which puts him out of rugby for six weeks.

That re-opens the door for Tuitupou and also focuses further attention on the starting 15 for Saturday's Tri-Nations opener against Australia .

Tuitupou earned his seventh cap when he started for the All Blacks against Argentina but was one of the nine players dropped from the enlarged early season squad.

His call up comes the day after he was named captain of the Auckland Air New Zealand Cup side.