All Blacks lose trio to injury

The trio were all injured in New Zealand's 47-29 win over the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.

All Blacks player Aaron Cruden makes a break during the international rugby test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France in Auckland on 8 June 2013. Picture: AFP

WELLINGTON - New Zealand suffered a trio of injury blows on Tuesday with confirmation that lock Luke Romano will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship, while flyhalves Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett are out of Saturday's test against Australia.

All three players suffered their injuries during the 47-29 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney last weekend and while Romano's adductor tear is the most serious injury, Cruden's might hit the All Blacks the hardest.

Cruden put in a man of the match performance in Sydney before leaving the pitch with what scans revealed was cruciate ligament damage to his right knee, which will sideline him for two to six weeks.

Barrett came off the bench to replace Cruden but ended up straining a calf, although he should be fit for New Zealand's third match of the championship against Argentina in Hamilton on September 7.

The absence of the 15-cap lock Romano will be no small loss for the team either as they look to defend the title they won with six wins out of six last year.

Loose forwards Luke Whitelock and Brad Shields were called into the squad as cover for him and injured flanker Liam Messam on Monday, while the uncapped Tom Taylor and Colin Slade were added to the squad to vie for the number 10 jersey.

"It's obviously hugely disappointing for Luke but he is a strong character and is already planning his rehab with our medical staff," coach Steve Hansen said in a news release.

"We hopefully will have Beauden ready to prepare for the Argentina test, while Aaron will start his knee rehabilitation later this week, which will give us a better indication of when he will be back playing.

Victory for the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday would extend their hold on the Bledisloe Cup - the trophy contested every season between Australia and New Zealand - to an 11th year.