TJ Perenara ruled out of second England Test

Publish Date
Monday, 8 July 2024, 3:50PM

By Liam Napier

The All Blacks will be forced into at least one change for their second test against England at Eden Park after confirmation TJ Perenara is ruled out of contention.

Perenara, playing his first test in 20 months following two Achilles surgeries, did not return for the second half of the All Blacks’ 16-15 victory in Dunedin after his knee twisted in a cleanout incident.

While the injury sparked immediate fears for Perenara’s medium term rugby future, the All Blacks are hopeful the Hurricanes veteran will instead be sidelined for a short period.

“It looked pretty nasty when it happened but he’s better than expected,” All Blacks assistant Jason Holland said. “We’re waiting on a specialist to determine exact return to play dates but hopefully it’s not too long.”

Losing Perenara’s experienced, combative presence is a blow, however.

With his valuable left-foot clearances and accurate delivery from the base Perenara contributed to the All Blacks dominant first half performance against England. His departure coincided with England’s second half fightback, before the All Blacks eventually regained composure to escape with a narrow first success under Scott Robertson.

The All Blacks have called in Crusaders halfback Noah Hotham, the 21-year-old with a long-term future at this level, as injury cover for Perenara who, at this stage, will remain with the squad in Auckland.

Blues halfback Finlay Christie, having played 21 tests but only started four of those, is expected to assume the All Blacks No 9 jersey.

Cortez Ratima impressed as he grasped the halfback mantle from Brad Weber at the Chiefs this season. His dynamic running game offers a point of difference and it’s there he could inject notable impact from the bench in a potential test debut this weekend.

“We’ve seen Cortez in Super footy and he’s been awesome but he realises this is a step up and he’s been awesome for the last two weeks since we’ve been together,” Holland said. “He’s diligent, making sure he’s all over everything. He’s in a space where if he works really hard during the week, which I know he will, he’ll be ready to go.”

While Perenara is unable to continue his test comeback this week, All Blacks playmaker Stephen Perofeta offered an insight into his standing within the team.

“TJ is a massive leader in our group,” Perofeta said. “His presence, his voice and knowledge of the game is very valuable. He’ll get around Finlay and Cortez with ease to make sure they’re all aligned and whoever gets the shot it ready to go.”

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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