Carter in doubt for first Test

    2013-06-03 09:13

    Wellington - Dan Carter heads a string of injured All Blacks less than a week from the first Test against France, with coach Steve Hansen unable to confirm on Monday if his star playmaker would take the field.

    X-rays have revealed Carter cracked a bone in his right hand during the Crusaders' 23-22 win over the Waratahs in the Super Rugby on Friday.

    The hand was swollen and Hansen said a decision on whether Carter would be able to play in the first Test in Auckland on Saturday would be made later in the week.

    "It's only a crack, it's not completely broken, not displaced. We'll see how the swelling goes and make a decision on that late in the week," Hansen said.

    There was also a question mark over three of the five props in the All Blacks' 32-man Test squad with Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks and the uncapped Ben Afeaki all suffering hamstring strains.

    Scrum-half Piri Weepu was not suffering any side effects after being concussed in the Auckland Blues' 28-38 loss to the Otago Highlanders, but had not yet been cleared to play and would be limited to non-contact training.

    "Until such a time as he gets all the tests done and he passes them, we'll consider him not okay," Hansen said.

    If the 94-Test Carter is ruled out of the match, Aaron Cruden is likely to start at fly-half with Aaron Smith expected to take the number nine jersey if Weepu fails his medical test.

    With Ben Franks and Wyatt Crockett the only fit props in the squad, the Crusaders' Joe Moody has been called into the All Blacks camp.

    France play three Tests in New Zealand as well as a match against the Blues.

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