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Messam on standby for injured Vito

Published: 12:42PM Tuesday June 12, 2012 Source: Fairfax

Victor Vito will miss the remainder of the All Blacks series against Ireland because of a knee injury.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed Vito had a grade two medial ligament tear, which could rule him out for up to five weeks.

The athletic Wellington loose forward is to be sidelined for three-five weeks to recover from medial ligament damage suffered in the Test defeat of the Irish at Eden Park on Saturday.

|Hansen said Adam Thomson would replace Vito in the starting lineup for the second Test in Christchurch this Saturday, with uncapped Chiefs openside Sam Cane coming onto the reserve bench.

Another Chiefs loose forward, Liam Messam, would join the All Blacks squad as unofficial cover in Hamilton ahead of the third Test there next week.

Messam was not part of the original 35 named to take part in the All Blacks training camps last month, but has been picked ahead of Brad Shields and Luke Romano who had trained with the team.

"We said wed bring people in from outside that 35, and Liam's had a very, very good season and been consistent, so he deserves his opportunity if he gets one," Hansen said.

Vito left the Test in Auckland sporting a cut to the face. However, Hansen said the 25-year-old - who was playing his 14th Test - was also feeling the effects of the knee injury so stayed off the field after the cut was treated.

Vito's injury may impact on his availability for the Hurricanes when they resume their Super Rugby campaign against the Crusaders on June 30.