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All Blacks selector hints no specialist No.10 will be selected for RWC in Damian McKenzie's absence

The All Blacks could head to Japan without a third option at first-five selector Grant Fox has hinted, following a season ending injury to Damian McKenzie.

With the versatile McKenzie out for nine months with a ruptured ACL, debate is raging as to who will fill in as possible cover in the third choice first-five or back-up fullback slot.

Speaking to Radio Sport yesterday though, Fox suggested that the All Blacks could head to the World Cup with just Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga as specialist number 10s, using McKenzie's absence to bolster another position.

"The way the draw sits, will a first five get a lot of rugby anyway?," Fox said.

"Could we get away without a specialist? Possibly.

"Is that risky? Yes. We can only pick 31 so you've got to compromise somewhere. Do we compromise at 10, 9 or somewhere else?"

Fox did however hint that the selectors already have a replacement in mind to cover for McKenzie, saying:

"We are pretty clear on thought at the moment but it's something we don't want to divulge too much."

With Aaron Cruden leaving the Chiefs, McKenzie will move from fullback to number 10.
Damian McKenzie against the Wallabies. Source: Photosport


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