Wellington - Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is to undergo surgery on his injured foot and will definitely miss the early Super 15 rounds next year, the New Zealand team doctor confirmed on Friday.
McCaw was troubled throughout this year by a screw inserted in his right foot during surgery on a stress fracture, and did not take a full part in training during the World Cup to avoid aggravating the injury.
Following the All Blacks cliff-hanger 8-7 win over France in the final last month, the 30-year-old flanker has had a scan on the foot and seen a specialist.
Team doctor Deb Robinson said it has been decided to remove the screw.
"While the initial stress fracture in his foot has partially healed, the scan revealed that there is an area of bone stress around the screw," Robinson said.
"The best option for him is to have surgery to have the screw removed. He will also have some bone grafting done and then his foot will be left alone to heal."
The All Blacks talisman will have the operation later this month and Robinson said no timeline had been set for his return to rugby.
"Following the surgery, Richie will be in plaster for two weeks and then a moonboot for a month. After around 10 to 12 weeks he will be able to start running and then will gradually return to rugby training," she said.
Todd Blackadder, the coach of McCaw's Canterbury Crusaders side has resigned himself to starting the next Super 15 season without his captain and his other star, flyhalf Dan Carter, who suffered a groin injury in the World Cup.
While Carter's injury was unforeseen, Blackadder said McCaw should probably not have played in the tournament at all.
"He was lucky they didn't X-ray him because it will probably have confirmed he shouldn't have been."
McCaw, who became the first All Black to play 100 Tests in the 37-17 World Cup pool victory over France, missed the first two months of the Super 15 tournament this year after having the screw inserted in his foot.