Rugby World Cup 2011

Guildford adds to NZ headache

2011-10-05 08:08
Zac Guildford (File)





Auckland - In-form wing Zac Guildford became the latest injured All Black at the Rugby World Cup when he pulled up lame at training on Wednesday just as the team welcomed the return to fitness of captain Richie McCaw.

Guildford, who scored four tries in his first World Cup outing against Canada last weekend, pulled a hamstring in training but the seriousness of the injury was not immediately clear.

"I just pulled up a bit short at training, we haven't assessed it yet," said Guildford who had been hoping his starring role against Canada would put him in the frame for selection to play in Sunday's quarter-final against Argentina.

But the 22-year-old, who was publicly reprimanded by team management early in the tournament for excessive drinking admitted there was "huge competition" for the two wing berths.

Unlike the loss of ace flyhalf Dan Carter, now out of the World Cup with a tournament-ending groin injury, the All Blacks have plenty of depth when it comes to their outside backs.

Richard Kahui and Cory Jane appear the likely starters while coach Graham Henry has also experimented successfully with centre Sonny Bill Williams on the wing and Israel Dagg and Isaia Toeava have experience there.

Meanwhile, flank McCaw trained with the team and showed no signs of the troublesome foot injury which sidelined him before the Canada game.

"He went well, put in a full training - brilliant," lock Ali Williams noted.

Colin Slade is expected to start at flyhalf against Argentina with scrumhalf Piri Weepu as his back up, while Carter's replacement Aaron Cruden is now training with the squad but unsure if he will get any game time.

Cruden, who appeared in six Tests last year before slipping behind Slade in the pecking order, said his initial focus was to get up to speed with the All Blacks' plays.

"I'm not too sure what the playing side of it is going to be," he said, adding the message from backs coach Wayne Smith was to "play my natural game if given the opportunity and just prepare as I normally do throughout the week".

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