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New Zealand dropped veteran Piri Weepu from their squad for Investec Rugby Championship and have selected uncapped scrum half TJ Perenara instead.
Weepu, who has been capped 71 times, was involved in the Steinlager Series against France back in June but has been dropped along with prop Ben Afeaki, and loose forwards Victor Vito and Matt Todd.
Rene Ranger is also missing from the 28-man squad because of personal reasons.
Coach Steve Hansen has been quick to congratulate Perenara on his call-up but also insists it is not the end of Weepu’s international career and he can return to the squad if he gets back to the level of performance that is expected from him.
“On the flipside, it’s always difficult and disappointing for players when they miss out on selection, particularly for players like Piri and Victor who have been involved in the team for a number of years,” he said. “But we have made it clear what we expect from them and the door is certainly not closed if they can deliver on those expectations.”
Meanwhile, skipper Ricjie McCaw returns to the squad following a break from the game, while the All Blacks are also boosted by the return to fitness of Charlie Faumuina, who is back from a calf injury.