New Zealand have been dealt their first blow of the Rugby World Cup with the news that rising star Luke Jacobson has been ruled out of the tournament with a delayed bout of concussion.
Shannon Frizell has been called up to replace Jacobson in the back-row as the All Blacks chase a third straight World Cup crown in Japan.
Head coach Steve Hansen confirmed that the player showed no signs of concussion after New Zealand’s 92-7 win over Tonga in their final warm-up game.
It was only when the team arrived in Japan that Jacobson’s symptoms became clear.
“We have a duty of care to look after our players and Luke’s health is the most important thing above anything else,” Hansen said.
“Luke’s a young man with a hugely promising career ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll get the chance to play at other Rugby World Cups in the future.”
Jacobson has been in impressive form for Waikato Chiefs and despite having only won two Test caps for New Zealand, the flanker was chosen to represent the World Champions in Japan at just 22-years-old.
“I’m gutted to be missing the Rugby World Cup,” Jacobson said.
“However, I completely understand that this decision has been made with my health and best interests at heart.”
New Zealand get their campaign underway with a huge game against South Africa on September, 21.