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All Blacks to release 3 players early from Tri-Nations duty

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three members of the All Blacks squad in Australia are being released to return home, no longer needed with only one test remaining in the Tri-Nations rugby series.

Head coach Ian Foster said suspended prop Ofa Tuungafasi and development players Du Plessis Kirifi and Peter Umaga-Jensen will leave the squad on Monday. The players will spend 14 days in managed isolation on their return to New Zealand before rejoining their families.

“Because of the unique challenges of the tournament, with a number of test matches over consecutive weeks and the ever-changing world of COVID-19 quarantining, we brought a bigger squad than normal to Australia,” Foster said. “But we had always intended to send a few players back at this stage of the tournament, based on whether or not we had injuries.”

Tuungafasi was suspended for three matches after being sent off for a high tackle in New Zealand’s 24-22 loss to Australia in Brisbane on Nov. 7. Kirifi and Umaga-Jensen have not played in the Tri-Nations series so far.

New Zealand’s last Tri-Nations match is against Argentina at Newcastle on Nov. 28. Argentina beat New Zealand for the first time ever, 25-15 at Sydney on the weekend.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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