Naas: Carter blow will rock NZ
Cape Town - Former Springbok flyhalf Naas Botha says the loss of star flyhalf Dan Carter will be a big psychological blow to the All Blacks.
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Carter was on Sunday (New Zealand time) ruled out of the World Cup tournament after he injured his groin while practicing kicks at goal.
"His injury is definitely a big loss for New Zealand, but psychologically it's an even bigger blow," Botha told the Volksblad newspaper.
"Certain players are just more important than others and tougher to replace. Carter was very important in the New Zealanders' setup. Now it's a very difficult situation for them.
"But as is always the case in rugby, it presents another player with the opportunity to emerge as the All Blacks' hero."
And the man most likely to attempt to be that hero is Colin Slade. Slade replaced Carter in the All Blacks' recent clash against Canada on Sunday, but flattered to deceive. He moved from flyhalf to the wing after 51 minutes and limped from the field in the 64th minute after tightening up due to his recent lack of game time.
Piri Weepu finished the game against the Canadians at flyhalf.
However, it looks like Slade is still the favourite to don the No 10 jersey for their quarter-final clash against Argentina on Sunday.
Coach Graham Henry backed Slade's performance after the Canadian game.
"Going forward ... well, Colin Slade's the boy," Henry told the Associated Press. "He played pretty well for a large part of the game today. He just needs more football so the more times we can get him out there the better he's going to be."
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