Taupau benched for first Test
New Zealand forward Martin Taupau has been excused from a Saturday media engagement to avoid questions over his "theatregate" transfer to Manly.
The Wests Tigers star was to take part in a media 'all-in" at Test venue KC Stadium on the eve of the opening international against England, following the captain's run at which co-skipper Adam Blair (calf) will have a fitness test
But Taupau will now be replaced by a teammate "so he can concentrate on his preparations", according to team officials.
Taupau's early release from Concord became public knowledge when his contract was accidentally emailed to a Canadian Theatre critic instead of Manly chief executive Joe Kelly.
The comical chain of events confirmed speculation that had been present for several weeks - that Taupau would not be seeing out the remaining year of his Wests Tigers contract.
The former Junior Kiwis captain has been demoted to the bench by coach Stephen Kearney after starting last week against Leeds.
Kearney explained the team for Leeds was picked with a view to giving game time to those who had not played in the NRL finals.