New Zealand Rugby
All Blacks recall Piri Weepu
September 19, 2013
Auckland's Piri Weepu barks an order, Auckland v Counties Manukau, ITM Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, September 4, 2013
Piri Weepu has been handed a second chance © Getty Images
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Piri Weepu has been handed a Test lifeline by All Blacks selectors, who have named the Auckland scrum-half career to replace TJ Perenara in the 28-man squad to play The Rugby Championship Tests in Argentina and South Africa. Perenara had been likely to make his Test debut, but he has suffered a leg stress fracture that will sideline him for six weeks.

Weepu's inclusion is a remarkable turnaround for the 30-year-old, who was dropped for The Rugby Championship after the June series against France and told to work on his speed and fitness.

Weepu, 30, was by no means spectacular for Auckland as they brushed aside Northland 41-10 in the ITM Cup at Eden Park on Thursday night, but his experience will certainly aid a New Zealand side preparing for another fortnight of physical barrages. He will likely play a key role given the absence of heavily experienced fly-half Dan Carter, particularly in the Test against South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg - where the All Blacks don't have a good record.

There are no other real surprises in the squad, with Jeremy Thrush called up alongside Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock as second-row cover. Tom Taylor's solid debut against Australia in Wellington earned him a ticket, while injured captain Richie McCaw will likely play against South Africa. Matt Todd will be called into the side if McCaw doesn't recover from his medial ligament injury.

All Blacks

Forwards: Dane Coles, Andrew Hore, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Brodie Retallick, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua, Richie McCaw, Liam Messam, Kieran Read.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden, Tom Taylor, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith.

TJ Perenara had been set to make his Test debut © Getty Images
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