All Blacks v Springboks rugby: Prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi ruled out of South African tour with neck injury

All Blacks prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Photo / Photosport

The All Blacks have been handed another injury blow with prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi being ruled out of the upcoming South African tour.

The 47-test prop sustained a neck injury in the third test against Ireland in Wellington and will remain in New Zealand when the squad travels to South Africa, the All Blacks confirmed on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old will continue to work on his recovery, with a goal of returning when the All Blacks meet Argentina in Christchurch next month.

Tu’ungafasi joins the list of All Blacks who will not travel to South Africa, which includes Brodie Retallick, Jack Goodhue and fellow Blues prop Nepo Laulala.

Uncapped Crusaders tighthead Fletcher Newell has been called in to travel with the squad as a replacement player.

It leaves the All Blacks low on experience in the front row.

Aidan Ross, George Bower, Angus Ta’avao, Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax, who was named as a traveling replacement player in the initial squad, are the other props for the tour.

Newell, who will join the All Blacks this week for the first time, said it was a special moment to be called into the team.

“It’s just an awesome moment and I really can’t put any words together at the moment,” he said.

“I pretty much rung my whole family after. It’s pretty surreal. Everyone was really really happy and we shared some pretty good moments.

“There’s a number of Crusaders and leaders in that environment. I’m really excited to connect with them like I had all season. It’s quite daunting but I just can’t wait to get in there and learn from everyone.”

The All Blacks will travel to South Africa this week ahead of back-to-back tests against the Springboks on August 7 and 14.

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