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All Blacks star an injury doubt for Ireland series decider

All Blacks

All Blacks forward Scott Barrett is a doubt for Saturday’s test series decider against Ireland after aggravating a knee injury.

According to the NZ Herald, Barrett did not train on Tuesday due to a knee injury and is thought to have aggravated the issue in a training session on Thursday.

Barrett has been named to start at blindside flanker in Wellington, having played as a lock in the All Blacks’ defeat in Dunedin, although the Herald believe he may yet be ruled out of Saturday’s decider.

If Barrett is unavailable, it is expected that either Dalton Papalii or Akira Ioane will replace the Crusaders captain at blindside flanker.

Papalii started at blindside in the second test when Barrett shifted to the second row to cover for the injured Sam Whitelock, although he does have more experience as an openside flanker.

Ioane has spent more time as a blindside flanker than Papalii, although he often also plays at number eight.

Ian Foster has already made a number of changes to his team.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has already rung the changes after his side’s loss to Ireland in the second test, with four changes made to the starting team, not including Barrett’s potential absence.

Will Jordan has replaced Leicester Fainga’anuku on the wing, David Havili has come in for Quinn Tupaea at inside centre, Nepo Laulala has replaced Ofa Tu’ungafasi at tighthead prop and Sam Whitelock has returned to the second row.

On the bench, former NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is in line to make his debut for the All Blacks, having made the switch from rugby league to rugby union at the start of the year.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has made just one change to his starting team, as Bundee Aki has replaced Garry Ringrose, who is unavailable this weekend after suffering a concussion.

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