Watch: Down goes another! All Blacks lose Ardie Savea to third case of mumps on end-of-year tour

The All Blacks have been plagued once again by mumps, with loose forward Ardie Savea the third player to pick up the contagious virus so far in the team's end-of-year tour.

Savea missed the first field training session in Cardiff for their build up towards the final Test of the tour against Wales on Sunday morning after he was swiftly isolated with the onset of the virus identified by team staff.

 All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster confirmed the news at this morning's press conference. "Ardie has got a mild dose of the mumps," he said.

Foster said team management don’t believe anyone else has the contagion. Source: 1 NEWS

"He's the only one so he's in his room in isolation. He's been fully vaccinated previously as a kid but clearly he's got something. He's been in isolation for a few days. He's actually recovering pretty quickly but we've just kept him apart."

It's believed Savea picked up the virus from the second player caught while on this year's northern tour - Rieko Ioane.

Ioane was also isolated once it was discovered he had the mumps but prior to that he had travelled with teammates and shared rooms with them as per normal.

Team management was unsure how the winger picked up the virus with them firmly believing he hadn't contracted it from the team's first case, Jack Goodhue.

The All Blacks said at the time Goodhue did not come into contact with Ioane so there wasn't any chance the cases were related.

Foster said based on Ioane's case, this week was the one where other members of the team could start to display symptoms of the illness.

"If you look at the timelines that's probably how it would work. Clearly it caught us on the hop a little bit," Foster said.

"It's not something you get a lot of so it has come out of the blue a little bit but we're really satisfied with the way doc has reacted really quickly with Rieko and obviously Ardie was susceptible even though he's done everything right in the past.

"Are we worried about it? No. But we've taken every precaution. Clearly Ardie must have been in pretty close proximity to Rieko at some point."

Foster said he did not believe anyone else had the mumps.

"They're not showing any warning signs. I'm not a doctor but it's something we've taken really seriously. We're not just sitting back taking it for granted I know Tony has done a great job of isolating it but clearly Ardie has caught something."


'I could reveal a bit of stuff' - Warren Gatland defends new book ahead of All Blacks clash

Ahead of the All Blacks' final Test of the year against Wales in Cardiff this weekend, attention has shifted from the match to coach Warren Gatland's new book.

Before a ball's even been kicked, the rivalry between Gatland and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is again in the spotlight, with Gatland's claims of "explosive material" from this year's Lions tour.

Instead of preparing for arguably Wales' biggest match of the year, Gatland is now having to defend himself for the content of his literary works.

"Explosive's a pretty exaggerated word," the New Zealander told media this morning.

"I said I've known things about, in the All Blacks, and how personal some of the attacks on me were.

"If it needs to get dirty I could reveal a bit of stuff."

Still, Gatland is ready to tangle with Steve Hansen once again, and of course dealing with the pressures that come with it.

"At some stage I'll probably be dressed up as a clown this week."

"Just take it on the chin and move on you know - that's the way it is." 



Video: Unsung All Blacks hero Matt Todd puts in monster gym session before Wales Test

All Blacks flanker Matt Todd is pushing his case for a rare Test start against Wales on Sunday, putting in a huge gym session in Cardiff yesterday.

The ever-patient Todd, 29, has made the most of his limited opportunities in 2017, having initially been stuck behind Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, as well as battling injuries throughout the early part of the season.

In the last few weeks of the All Blacks' Northern tour, Todd has supplanted Savea to find himself as first choice deputy to Cane, although will now be pushing for a chance to show his wares against Wales on Sunday.

Todd will be hoping for a crack in the famous number seven jersey when the All Blacks team to take on Wales is named tomorrow afternoon.

The flanker is looking to grab a starting spot for the final Test of 2017. Source: 1 NEWS