All Blacks rally behind Slade

2011-10-04 09:07

Auckland - While New Zealand reacted to the Rugby World Cup-ending injury to Dan Carter as something akin to a national disaster, the All Blacks rallied around his understudy Colin Slade.

The loss of star playmaker Carter has dominated the New Zealand news since he suffered a serious groin injury on Saturday with many questioning the ability of the novice Slade to fill his boots.

But All Blacks backs coach Wayne Smith led the Slade fan club on Tuesday, saying the team's expectations were really high and that, despite Carter's absence, "we haven't altered the bar at all".

Smith said Slade had similar strengths to the ace pivot "so plans remain the same, expectations are exactly the same, belief of the squad is exactly the same. We don't see anything's changed."

In New Zealand, where rugby is treated almost like a national religion, there is desperation across the country for the team to lift the World Cup for the first time in 24 years.

Although the All Blacks are the most successful team in the history of the sport, the only time they have won the World Cup was when they hosted the inaugural tournament in 1987.

The 29-year-old Carter, an astute onfield general and veteran of 85 Tests, was seen as the rugby messiah who would change that, but Smith said the team had just as much faith in Slade, 23, who has a mere nine internationals behind him.

"He's got huge credibility in the squad and there's a lot of belief in him. In my experience if you walk in the company of people who believe in you you're going to achieve," he said ahead of New Zealand's quarter-final against Argentina here on Sunday.

All Blacks back-row Kieran Read said the team felt for Carter who was "a massive part" of the squad but had confidence in Slade to fill the demanding role.

"He's a pretty cool customer. He's got a level head on his shoulders and he's done an outstanding job last week (against Canada) and he'll handle it."

Although Aaron Cruden, who played six Tests for the All Blacks last year, has been added to the squad following Carter's withdrawal, Smith gave no guarantees he would get any game time.

Scrumhalf Piri Weepu who has played a lot of Super rugby in the No 10 jersey is the likely backup to Slade, a role he has filled twice this year.

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • Johnny-BB - 2011-10-04 09:20

    ......2011 World Champions = All Blacks..!!!!

      Johan van Zyl - 2011-10-04 09:44

      Nope Johnny, four more years mate, four more years. Enjoy your choke.

      PROSA - 2011-10-04 10:02

      Hope the AB wins if SA don't make it and if the AB don't make it hope SA wins This is from all my New Zeeland friends and me(BOKKE) from Afghanistan

      Kerr - 2011-10-04 10:36

      *Cough* Slade...sorry, I mean Colin Slade...cmon Boks, do the business

      watalife - 2011-10-04 11:22

      Johnny-BB The AB's will take the 2011 WC....The bokkies should be on flight SAA moer2 Tuesday then we can all sit back and laugh.....

      John - 2011-10-04 12:31

      no carter... no all blacks hahahahaha

      nzbro - 2011-10-04 12:31

      DC being injured is going to be the best that could have happened to the AB's. This will give them the resolve to lift their game even more. If you thought they were awesome over the past few weeks watch this space. So that BLACK wave approaching just became a Tsunami thanks to DC's unfortunate accident. I'll leave that with you lot to chew on Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei! ( This defines us as the All Blacks )

  • Maori - 2011-10-04 09:25

    We are all behind you, Mr Colin Slade!

  • John Jameson - 2011-10-04 09:31

    If they win the cup, NZ will only prove that they can't get the job done without home ground advantage.

      EJ - 2011-10-04 13:33

      so are you saying the Boks never won in 1995?

  • Hanjo - 2011-10-04 09:41

    "he's done an outstanding job last week" (against Canada) ....Canada aint Argentina and neither are they the Aussies or SA, his performance against a minnow side can't be used as an indication of how he'll perform in the Quarters.

  • Serias - 2011-10-04 10:03

    Man.I hope Argentina pitches up and rattles the AB's.

      brownbomber - 2011-10-04 10:21

      Are you really serias? Argetina no chance. All Blacks by 20 points clear.

      MJ - 2011-10-04 11:57

      Argentina were losing to Georgia 60 minutes into the game. They are going to get blown off the park by NZ.

  • Marcus Daily - 2011-10-04 10:30

    Jeepers! This is simple! Do like what the Crusaders did during the Super 15! Play SBW at 12 and take the attention away from Slade! It worked in PE despite the AB's losing, SBW hardly got the ball but his presence was enough to attract defenders and keep the defence honest, hell Jean and Jaque and The Stormers know this very well!! Molested twice at Newlands!

  • Cornel - 2011-10-04 10:31

    All Blacks should play Piri Weepu at fly half or forget about the world cup. Colin Slade will only give them a 50/50 chance.

  • brok3news - 2011-10-04 10:38

    The pale ferns will definitely win the game after the semi - which will be the 3rd/4th place playoff.

  • tHeOrAcLe - 2011-10-04 11:16

    Go BOKKE

  • Kapa O Pango - 2011-10-04 11:17

    Go "Slade" them Colin !!!

  • Lionel - 2011-10-04 11:52

    Although this is a huge opportunity and challenge for Colin Slade, but so will be the pressure and responsibility and especially at just 23 years of age and having not played much test rugby. The expectations will be enormous despite not having the skills and experience as Dan Carter. If he has a good game against Argentina and the AB's progress, this hopefully will add to his confidence for the semi-finals. If he has a shocker or average game, then Piri Weepu must be the automatic first choice at flyhalf in the semi's. Weepu has to play from now on in all games, whether at scrumhalf or flyhalf, as a back up penalty and conversion kicker to Slade. If the AB's progress, the Wallabys or Boks are sure to target Slade.

      James121 - 2011-10-04 12:55

      Spot on and should the Boks progress this weekend, this situation will play into the Boks hands in the Semi's. Psychologically we will have the upper hand.

  • Good Advice - 2011-10-04 13:03

    Nice chap but won't cut it. In a close game Carter would've made the difference. Sorry boys, just think you lost any hope of making the WC final. NZ supporters, your optimism is noted but non the less pointless.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-10-04 20:21

    The ABs have to rally around him. What else can they do ?

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