WELLINGTON (AFP) – New Zealand rugby's forgotten man, Colin Slade, was among four players called up Monday to shore up the All Blacks' injury-hit squad ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against Australia.
Aaron Cruden (knee) and Beauden Barrett (calf) both emerged from New Zealand's 47-29 win over the Wallabies on Saturday nursing injuries, forcing coach Steve Hansen to look for other options at fly-half in a squad already missing Dan Carter (calf).
Hansen drafted in Slade and the uncapped Tom Taylor to ensure the All Blacks have adequate cover at number 10 for the Wellington clash.
Slade was once regarded as Carter's heir apparent but a career plagued by injuries, including breaking his jaw twice, has seen Cruden take over that mantle.
He has played just 10 Tests, with his last appearance for the All Blacks coming at the 2011 World Cup, when he limped off with a groin injury in the quarter-final against Argentina.
The 25-year-old re-emerged as a force late in this year's Super 15 season, doing enough to convince the Canterbury Crusaders to sign him to replace Carter, who is sitting out the competition next year.
In the forwards, Hansen called up Luke Whitelock and Brad Shields to cover for Luke Romano, who suffered a groin injury in the Sydney Test, and Liam Messam, who was ruled out of the squad last week with a hamstring strain.