Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai has been ruled out of the All Blacks to deal with on-going concussion symptoms. It's only been two days since the Ngāti Porou midfielder was named in the first ABs squad of the year. Now selectors have been forced to replace the in-form centre of Super Rugby.
Only two days after being named in the All Blacks, Ngatai's time has been cut short.
Assistant coach Ian Foster told Te Kāea, “We made a decision after he came in on Sunday to send him home. I feel that's the best place for him to chill for the next three or four days.”
Ngatai was concussed in the final stages of the Chiefs' clash against the Highlanders earlier this month, forcing him to miss the previous two rounds of Super Rugby. All Blacks management decided today that the risk was still far too great.
Foster says, “It's just one of those things that you've got to give people time and space, and when it comes right it comes right.”
It's a cruel blow for the Ngāti Porou midfielder, who many commentators have labelled the stand-out midfielder this year. In a cruel twist, Ngatai will have to delay his return to the international stage for his second All Blacks cap.
Fellow teammate Aaron Smith says, “We're all come from teams, different teams, different things, and it's just getting our head around calls. So it's just get out and get our All Black hat on.”
Blues utility George Moala, who made his test debut in Samoa last year, will remain with the All Blacks squad until Ngatai recovers.
Ngatai's Chiefs teammate Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Tainui) is also under an injury cloud this week.
“He's due to start some really good passing, with that hand probably at the end of this week, so we'll get an early indication from there,” says Foster.
It was also announced today that Ngatai has re-signed with the Chiefs until the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.