Thursday 22 August 2019

All Blacks star isolated after contracting mumps ahead of Wales clash

Ardie Savea. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Ardie Savea. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Andrew Baldock

New Zealand back-row forward Ardie Savea has been isolated at the All Blacks' Cardiff team base after contracting mumps.

But All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said there was no concern that the highly-contagious viral disease might spread. New Zealand play Wales on Saturday.

"Ardie has got a mild dose of the mumps," Foster told reporters on Tuesday. "He is the only one. He is in his room and has been in isolation.

"He was fully vaccinated as a kid, but he clearly has something. He has been in isolation for a few days and is recovering pretty quickly."

Savea is thought to have contracted mumps from New Zealand wing Rieko Ioane, who received treatment for it earlier during the All Blacks' tour.

"We are not worried about it (spreading)," Foster added. "We have taken every precaution, but Ardie must have been in pretty close proximity to Rieko at some point.

"It has caught us on the hop a bit because it is not something you get a lot of.

"It has come out of the blue, but we are satisfied with the way the doctor reacted really quickly with Rieko, and Ardie was susceptible even though he had done everything right in the past. It is something we are taking seriously."

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Foster, meanwhile, said that All Blacks captain Kieran Read did not train on Tuesday.

"He's pretty battered after the last couple (of games), and we took him out of training today to give him an extra 24 hours," Foster said.

"He's pretty good. He gets through a lot of work, and at this stage of the year he is just a bit sore.

"It was a management decision to pull him out today and give him a chance to walk around training and freshen up for later in the week."

The All Blacks have arrived in the Welsh capital fresh from a severe test against Scotland three days ago, although they have won 29 successive games against Wales and are unbeaten in the fixture since 1953.

"It is not a matter of pulling the whole game apart and trying to fix everything, but fixing the critical parts we need to sort out," Foster added.

"This week we would like to start and finish a little bit better.

"It will be a very physical game (against Wales), we know that. It is about the collision area when you play Wales and the physicality."

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