All Blacks coach Steve Hansen should have an easier time picking his side to face Italy this weekend, with a number of key players on the plane home.
Following yesterday's 16-9 defeat to Ireland in Dublin, a small contingent of the All Blacks are heading home early for one reason or another, coach Hansen confirmed to media this morning.
The trio of Liam Squire (knee strain), Joe Moody (eye injury), Sonny Bill Williams (shoulder injury) are all sidelined, while Sam Whitelock has been given the week off after a long season. Matt Todd meanwhile, has returned to his Japanese club, Panasonic Wild Knights.
Hansen though, is still confident in his remaining squad, saying:
"We've got 29 fit and available, that we'll name on Thursday."
The All Blacks face Italy in Rome next weekend.