ABs sweat over back-up boys

All Blacks duo Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith might miss the rest of their team’s end-of-year tour because of injury.

Both players started in the midfield in New Zealand’s 51-22 win over Scotland last weekend. Ellison suffered ligament damage in his foot, while Smith has picked up a fractured cheekbone.

They are ruled out of the Test against Italy in Rome this Saturday, which should see first-choice centre pair Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu reinstated.

It is still being assessed whether Ellison and Smith will be able to provide cover for the rest of the tour.