All Blacks' Romano out of Ireland test


New Zealand lock Luke Romano is to return home from the United States following a family bereavement, the All Blacks have confirmed.

Romano had been set to start at second-row in the All Blacks' clash with Ireland at Chicago's Soldier Field, but it was announced on Tuesday that the 30-year-old will now miss Saturday's Test.

It means that the All Blacks' mini-crisis in terms of fit and available forwards continues to worsen, with first choice locks Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick both injured.

All Blacks Assistant Head Coach Ian Foster confirmed that Romano's absence would be covered by the squad, with Scott Barrett and Vaea Fifita having travelled to the US as back-ups.

In better news for the All Blacks, they dominate the shortlists for the upcoming World Rugby Awards.

Representatives of the world champions are up for awards in five of the seven categories, including the Team of the Year shortlist.

Head Coach Steve Hansen has been nominated for the Coach of the Year gong - going up against England's Eddie Jones and Ben Ryan of the Fiji sevens - while Anton Lienert-Brown and Ardie Savea will go head-to-head for the Breakthrough Player of the Year award.