All Blacks suffer injury scare

2011-10-01 12:44

Wellinton - New Zealand's World Cup campaign took a hit on Saturday when key men Richie McCaw and Dan Carter were both sidelined with late injuries before their final pool match against Canada.

McCaw suffered a flare-up in a long-standing foot problem but the extent of Carter's groin problem was less clear, as media speculated it could be serious enough to rule him out of the tournament.

The world's all-time leading points-scorer, 29, received the injury during kicking practice and would undergo a detailed assessment later, an All Blacks statement said. An update on his condition will be released on Sunday.

New Zealand's 3 News said team sources "absolutely" feared for Carter's participation in the rest of the tournament, but other media did not carry similar reports.

Carter had been named as captain after McCaw withdrew with "niggly" pain in his right foot, following surgery for a stress fracture in February. McCaw was also sidelined in May after recurring pain in same area.

The hosts have already qualified for the quarter-finals as they chase their first World Cup victory in 24 years.

"I'm not going to play and the reason is that my foot is a bit niggly," said McCaw, who earned a record 100th cap in New Zealand's win against France.

"It's a bit frustrating. I was pretty keen to play, it was important for me and the team. I got through training on Friday fine but I woke up a bit sore."

McCaw and Carter both missed New Zealand's game against Japan with a minor calf strain and a back problem respectively.

Against Canada, Colin Slade will now start in the number 10 jersey, with hooker Andrew Hore to captain the All Blacks for the first time. Andy Ellis comes onto the replacements bench.

McCaw's place at openside will be taken by Victor Vito, who will pack down alongside No 8 Kieran Read, returning from an ankle sprain.

Centre Sonny Bill Williams starts in place of Ma'a Nonu, Israel Dagg moves from fullback to right wing and Zac Guildford slots in at left wing instead of the injured Richard Kahui.

Jimmy Cowan comes in at scrum-half, with Piri Weepu moving to the bench as Henry continued to test his half-back pairings.

And Mils Muliaina will win his 99th cap at fullback, continuing his bid to become only the second All Black after McCaw to play 100 Tests.

Up front, Hore replaces Keven Mealamu at hooker, and Ali Williams comes in for Brad Thorn at lock.

The All Blacks opened their campaign here with a 41-10 win over Tonga before thrashing Japan 83-7 and most recently beating France 37-17, and will enter the knock-out phase of competition as pool winners.

Coach Graham Henry and his players have insisted that they are not undercooked, as was claimed in the 2007 World Cup when the Kiwis crashed out to the French in the quarters.

"We just want to make sure that the backbone of the team is ticking over all the time and the guys that need football get an opportunity because you just don't know what's going to happen on the injury front going forward and who is going to be required for finals football," Henry said earlier.

The match will be a milestone for Henry as a coach, he and assistants Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith celebrating their 100th All Blacks Test since taking over in the wake of New Zealand's failure in the 2003 World Cup.

The neutral might argue that Canada, who pulled off a surprise 25-20 win over Tonga before losing 46-19 to the French and drawing 23-23 with Japan, are on a hiding to nothing.

They have been hit by the absence through injury of goal-kicking fullback James Pritchard, but coach Kieran Crowley has otherwise named a full-strength Canadian team.


  • Sean - 2011-10-01 12:59

    We hope for a full and speedy recovery to McCaw and Carter, we want no excuses when we beat the chokers at Eden park.

      Gomez - 2011-10-01 13:14

      Absolutely right!!!!Bring em on!!!

      odysseus - 2011-10-01 18:50

      @cupid..... yea its pretty obvious isn't it......misleading headlines should read, "ABs rest their two playmakers for playoffs"

      Bert Pajou - 2011-10-01 21:19

      Yea, let them nurse their players into good health, I think Oz and NZ are very worried. Remember, with one or two exceptions, not counting the games against blind schools and old age homes, the boks have never been really impressive in the pool games. It is as if they just do enough to get the job done. Yet, as the opposition stiffens, they gear up and when the time comes, they bring it home, And they have always been in bad form just before the tournament starts. This year is no different than previous years. Let them come, we are waiting for them.

  • cupid - 2011-10-01 13:03

    yeah right. This is no suprise. Why cant they just admit that they are resting the players.

      Bert Pajou - 2011-10-01 21:37

      No, my friend. Not resting them. Protecting is the word. The poor guys may get hurt and we don't want that, do we? They are just admitting to the fact that they do not have the luxery of a bench like ours.

  • Mom & Moody - 2011-10-01 13:37

    Oh please how can we believe you????

  • theprodigy - 2011-10-01 14:06

    It was all going a bit to swimingly for the All Blacks, wasnt it, easy pool with France no better than a minows team, no injuries, Boks in pool of Death, Aus & Boks meet in QF, Samoa bashes the Boks up for their NZ lets see how they cope (choke) without their precious McCheat & (heaven forbid) Carter. Maybe this WC won't be theirs for the taking, after all. Lets hold thumbs.

      Maori - 2011-10-01 16:23

      Scared of the Aussies wanker!

      AA - 2011-10-01 16:38

      @Maori. I see since Cooper made McCaw his b!tch you All Black Supporters are right behind the Australians now, like well discplined little animals - sheep may be a good term. Speaking to the Aussies they have far more respect for the South Africans than they do the All Blacks. There is a shared respect between the two countries. In fact besides the crying, complaining Somoans very few teams and their supporters have respect for the All Blacks or their little Lord of the dance spectacular before the game. Go Bokke Go

  • thesaoak - 2011-10-01 14:07

    I smell a whiff of Bullsh*...... All Blacks have already qualified and just putting there 2 showcase players in cotton wool!!! NZ are doing everything they can to have those 2 at 100% for the semi against the boks!!

      iceman1982 - 2011-10-01 14:25

      The Boks have to make the SF first.

      thesaoak - 2011-10-01 14:46

      @iceman1982 true, however for the aussies to pull it off with there injury ravened side, also not to forget they are not in the greatest of form, post the last tri-nations match, with a very different team that the one to face the boks in 8/9 would be a 'major upset' to knock out a form team with experience even without our ACE card, Frans!

      TheDude - 2011-10-01 14:53 these were taken today at the practice session

  • RugbyBoychie - 2011-10-01 14:48

    GOOD..I'd prefer to play an AB's side without Carter & Richie ;-)

  • Maori - 2011-10-01 15:45

    Get better DC and Sir Richie! You deserve the rest before the knock out games - even if DC is out, I believe that Slade will step up and prove everyone wrong. I'm more concerned about injuries to Smith and Nonu in the midfield - it's a myth that the mighty ALL BLACKS cannot win without DC and Sir Richie. Go ALL BLACKS!!!

      theprodigy - 2011-10-01 15:50

      We shall see spineless traitor, if not, perhaps you will stay off our pages, yes?

  • KIWI2011 - 2011-10-01 17:13

    It's going to be amaizing to read all the people on this sites comments after the quarter finals...especially if the Boks loose. Then the injuries, the Coach, the so called pool of death and all other excuses will be used. The so called pool of death did not live up to all the hipe created, because Figi and Namibia were pathetic.....Wales were average and so was Samoa. The only difference was that Samoa were a lot more physical than the others. It's going to be a big step-up come quarter finals time, especially if it's against the Aussies. Go Ireland. Hope they win their Pool. Can't wait for next week....:-).

      Jamal - 2011-10-01 19:27

      And if the Boks win the trolls will disappear. All big mouth before the game but nowhere to be seen after. According to these fake kiwis the Boks were suppose to not make it past the pool stages, that shut the idiots up. Now its the quarter final and then it will be the semi finals. Flip these troll are retarded.

      Maori - 2011-10-01 19:38

      @Jamal - are you still around? Do you have permission from the baas to post all these crappy posts? Shame, you must be a coconut trying to be white. In fact, you look like one on your photo! The protea fans are scared of the Aussies! I hope the proteas face the mighty ALL BLACKS even without DC and Sir Richie we will moer you on Eden Park! Go ALL BLACKS!!

      Jamal - 2011-10-01 20:02

      @Maori, have you finished cleaning the toilets. Did you have to sell some Tik to use the computer. Or did your sister do some tricks to earn money

      thesaoak - 2011-10-02 00:25

      LMFAO @kiwi @maori u dumb duch kids in brakpan love trolling this site... wtf r u on? u kids are just claimers..... and u oaks are gonna cry when you are knocked out by Argentina, without DC and running a 50% RMc your chances are slowly slipping away before you choke........ again........

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