Ben Smith Rugby World Cup 2019: Injuries for All Blacks but Josh Ioane no guarantee of debut

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Aaron Smith says his Highlanders team-mate Josh Ioane has returned to the All Blacks squad well.

First five-eighth Richie Mo’unga remains in doubt for the All Blacks’ test against Tonga in Hamilton on Saturday, but his potential absence won’t necessarily guarantee a test debut for non-World Cup squad member Josh Ioane.

​Mo’unga is still nursing a shoulder which took a knock and forced him off in the team’s last test – the Bledisloe Cup-sealing victory over Australia at Eden Park on August 17.

He, along with centre Jack Goodhue, who is still working his way back from a hamstring problem suffered against the Wallabies in the defeat Perth the weekend prior, both took part in training on Tuesday morning, but assistant coach Ian Foster said they will take another day to assess the duo’s prospects of featuring in New Zealand’s final pre-World Cup hitout.

Ben Smith Richie Mo'unga, pictured with TJ Perenara at training on Tuesday, remains in doubt for the All Blacks' test against Tonga.


Richie Mo’unga, pictured with TJ Perenara at training on Tuesday, remains in doubt for the All Blacks’ test against Tonga.

The All Blacks, rightly, won’t be risking any players at FMG Stadium Waikato who aren’t 100 per cent, ahead of an important opening pool game against South Africa in Yokohama on September 21.

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“That’s kind of our approach most weeks, to be honest,” Foster said. “We’ve already flagged we’re not going to go into this game trying to protect people. This game’s going to be important for us for the World Cup, we need to make sure we take some gains from our last test together where we showed some big improvemen

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