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Slade 'fine' after injury scare

2015-09-01 09:44

Wellington - The All Blacks played down injury concerns over Colin Slade on Tuesday after the flyhalf went down with a knee problem as training began in earnest for their World Cup defence.

Slade received medical attention after slipping over in Wellington, an incident which revived memories of New Zealand's injury woes at the last tournament in 2011.

"He slipped over during training and landed awkwardly on his knee and gave it a bit of a tweak," assistant coach Ian Foster said.

"He was walking around the shed afterwards. He's fine."

Slade was one of three flyhalves sidelined with injury during the 2011 World Cup, almost derailing New Zealand's bid to win the tournament on home soil.

They needed fourth choice Stephen Donald to score a crucial penalty during the final in Auckland to secure a nail-biting 8-7 win over France and end their 24-year wait to regain the trophy.

The last thing New Zealand wants is a similar injury run at the tournament in England starting this month, but Foster said there would be no holding back in training.

"We're preparing for a Rugby World Cup," he said.

"It's a contact sport and we've got to make sure we're battle-hardened and ready to go."

Foster also attempted to downplay wing Waisake Naholo's stunning return from a broken leg, which has been attributed to traditional Fijian medicine administered by his uncle.

"It was a cultural thing," he said.

"I know talking about miracles and stuff like that sells papers but at the end of the day the timeline we were given from our medicos is pretty spot-on.

"We're not belittling anything culturally but we do trust our medicos explicitly and the information they've given us has been backed up."

In fact it was Foster's boss, head coach Steve Hansen, not the media, who originally ruled Naholo out of the World Cup because of the injury.

Hansen said on July 18: "He'll be out for three months which means he's going to miss the World Cup."

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