In-form Highlanders lock scratched from Saturday’s clash in Wellington after interrupted travel plans wreak havoc with his concussion testing.

In-form lock Pari Pari Parkinson has cancelled flights to blame for his omission from the Mori All Blacks side to face Samoa in Wellington on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old, who is coming off a strong Super season with the Highlanders, failed a post-game HIA after being forced off with a head knock early in the second half of last weekends trans-Tasman final against the Blues in Auckland.
And while Mori coach Clayton McMillan said the 2.04m second rower was feeling fine now, an interrupted travel schedule meant he was unable to go through the rigid return to play protocols in time for the match at Sky Stadium.
Jacob Norris, in action for his Marist club in Nelson, is set for a Mori All Blacks debut this weekend.
One of the unfortunate things over the weekend which contributed to our disrupted campaign is that the Highlanders guys had a lot of flights cancelled, and had to spend an extra night in Christchurch en route to Wellington, McMillan revealed on his team naming media Zoom call on Thursday.
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And thats meant that he [Parkinson] hasnt been able to tick off all of the boxes that need to be ticked off in advance of the game. So, even though hes good now, we havent been able to get him to where he needs to be from the process [point of view]. He should be good to go next week.
Parkinsons absence opens the door for Highlanders team-mate Josh Dickson, who has been named on the bench as one of two debutants in the 23, alongside Tasman flanker Jacob Norris, who is yet to play Super Rugby.
Norris wasnt listed in the 25-man Mori squad announced last week, but McMillan said they were always going to add a 26th player, and just had to firstly do their due diligence by getting hold of some club footage and talking to provincial coaches, acknowledging the irony wasnt lost on him that the Mako man was now set to wear the jersey ahead of younger brother Ollie, the Chiefs prop, who was the only other potential debutant in the squad.
The other player to miss out on the 23 is midfielder Rameka Poihipi, who was a late callup this week following Quinn Tupaeas All Black elevation, something McMillan revealed he was lucky enough to know was going to happen.
Im in constant communication with Ian Foster around the selection of both our team and the All Blacks, he said.
Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea said he’d have hundreds of family members at the Hamilton test if he made his debut there.
When we named our team early [last Wednesday] it probably sent a signal to some people that anyone who was selected wasnt going to be selected in the All Blacks. And obviously that got proved wrong. And thats always been the case, we just havent always been fortunate enough to have someone promoted up.
While Saturdays match will be the Mori sides first fixture in Wellington since 1993, when they went down 24-20 to the British and Irish Lions at Athletic Park, this one will be played in front of no crowd, due to the capitals move to Covid-19 alert level 2.
McMillan confirmed none of the squad have had to self-isolate, with no-one having visited any of the Ministry of Healths locations of interest. And while the Covid scare has thrown a spanner in the works, he said it hadnt dampened the team spirit, on their first get together since their sole fixture last year the 28-21 win over Moana Pasifika in Hamilton in December.
Its been disruptive, but weve enjoyed being in camp, and like everybody else we want the general community to be healthy, McMillan said.
Its unfortunate that a crowd isnt able to turn up on Saturday. I know, having lived in Wellington, that theres a proud Pacific Island, and Mori, community, down here, and Im sure that the game would have been well supported.
But it wont impact on our willingness to want to get out there and still play in the manner we want to for our people.
The Mori All Blacks have won all 10 of their previous contests with Samoa, dating back to 1960. Their most recent clash resulted in a 17-6 scoreline in a Pacific Nations Cup match in Hamilton.
The teams will meet again at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland next Saturday, before Samoa then square off with Tonga the following two weekends (in Auckland then Hamilton) to decide who earns qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
Mori All Blacks: Kaleb Trask, Shaun Stevenson, Billy Proctor, Alex Nankivell, Sean Wainui, Otere Black, Bryn Hall, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Billy Harmon, Reed Prinsep, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Josh Hohneck, Ash Dixon (c), Pouri Rakete-Stones. Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Tamaiti Williams, Marcel Renata, Josh Dickson, Jacob Norris, Sam Nock, Josh Ioane, Jonah Lowe.