Guildford adds to NZ headache

2011-10-05 08:08

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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  • Marcus Daily - 2011-10-05 08:19

    Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Reid, Richie McCaw, Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Kevin Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Subs: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thompson, Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu, Sonny Bill Williams.

      Maori - 2011-10-05 08:30

      @Marcus- what about starting Weepu to do the goalkicking and play Cowan from the bench? Later sgift Weepu to first five and bring Cowan on. I prefer Sam Whitelock to start with Ali from the bench. What about Vito for Thompson?

      Drewka - 2011-10-05 09:03

      Colin Slade is gona be mince meat from here on in the tournament. AB's have the best backline in the WC, but no flyhalf that can use them.

      blackfan - 2011-10-05 10:10

      Marcus dont you think we should start with Weepu. Jimmy's passing not so flash lately?

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-10-05 10:18

      @Maori - Morning. My thoughts about your beloved AB's.......If I were a member of the cartel, I would start Weepu at 10 - end of. It would not be without risk of course (he ain't been tested at 10, in a tight knockout game, where his 'creativity' will have to be put on hold, and territory becomes the goal) BUT: he is about the closest thing you chaps have to an all round 10 - (Dagg, Cruden, Slade - a few strengths each, but not the package.....) Even playing on a foreign position, Piri has the experience and confidence to make it work. In any event, he should be doing alllllllllll of the goal kicking when he is on the field, at 9 or 10.

      Marcus Daily - 2011-10-05 10:18

      @Maori, thats a good tactic but coach Henry has too much pride to admit that Slade was a wrong selection in the first place, letting Weepu kick will give his detractors something to nail him on. He'll stick with Slade regardless. Its a tough one between Vito and Thompson, but ultimately Adam has been a favourite of coach GH for the last year or two and he also offers another option at linenout time. I could put my head on the block and say maybe Ellis gets dropped, Vito joins the bench. But we both know its unlike the AB's to go for 5/2 split on the bench.

      Phillip Carlisle - 2011-10-05 10:34

      You boys are ok, Marcus has got your excuse for loosing all sorted out. "Coach's Pride", "we should have won the world cup, but our Coach was too proud." I will go with that. So crazy-mad beats pride in the semis. Perfect. Hope crazy-mad tops it's-all-ok-drink in the final.

      Maori - 2011-10-05 10:35

      @Saffa-Cat - thanks for your comments. Unfair to compare Slade to DC. Slade offers some flair and attacking options - I get the feeling the AB's will stick to the plan they know - play attacking rugby and territory! Take your kickable penalties and grind it out - the second half in Brisbane was a classic example of it. Cannot wait!! @Marcus- agree with thye split on the bench - we have utility players at the back, use them. SBW to come on as a wing.

  • ozzymate - 2011-10-05 08:32

    ole digby will be keeping an eye on ya guilford come semis.

      Travis - 2011-10-05 09:33

      Hehehe...I like your optimism. Good luck for the QF, mate. Its going to be a clanger!

      ozzymate - 2011-10-05 10:55

      yeah mate rumour has it the boks will be going home come monday and will be switching their game code to netball for the next wc.Samoa made them long for a softer confrontation so netball won the toss up. The kiwis gonna lose this time too mates after we boot boks back over the water.

  • bullincapeto - 2011-10-05 10:49

    Guildford is legless again.

  • JT - 2011-10-06 16:28

    Israel Dagg, Richard Kahui, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Zac Guildford, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu (K), Kieran Reid, Richie McCaw (C), Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Subs: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Adam Thompson, Jimmy Cowan, Sonny Bill Williams, Isaia Toeava.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-10-06 19:29

    Chokey Chokey it getting real for you guys yet ? It should be.

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