Williams blow for All Blacks

2012-06-17 10:11

Christchurch - The All Blacks have lost senior lock Ali Williams for at least eight weeks and there was a question mark over Kieran Read following Saturday's bruising 22-19 defeat of Ireland.

Williams, who gave away the penalty that allowed Ireland to draw level at 19-all before Dan Carter snapped over the match-winning drop goal in the final minute, has aggravated an already troublesome knee and requires surgery.

There was also concern over a high-profile injury to Read who for the second successive week suffered a serious head knock.

He took a severe hit in the first Test won by the All Blacks 42-10, and was pulled from the second Test at half-time after complaining of dizziness.

Coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday that Read would be monitored over the next few days.

The rest of the squad, including Adam Thomson who smashed an already broken nose, "is obviously bumped and bruised and sore but fit for selection" for the third and final Test against Ireland next weekend, he said.

Ireland have lost Gordon D'Arcy to calf strain and Jamie Heaslip to a fractured finger, while Brian O'Driscoll and Mike Ross have been cleared to play following precautionary X-rays on facial injuries.

Ireland were desperately unlucky to fall short in the Test, missing a chance to take the lead in the closing stages when Jonathan Sexton was off-target with a 49m penalty after Israel Dagg was sin-binned for a late charge.

The consolation prize for coming up short was knowing they had at least out-muscled the world champion forwards which All Blacks captain Richie McCaw acknowledged.

"A good contest is what you're after and to be fair they had pressure on our scrum especially when it was their ball," he said.

The steadiness of the All Blacks pack decreased through the second half when they were without block-busting backrower Read, their go-to man when big tackles are needed and when they need someone to barge their way forward.

A bloodied blindside flanker Thomson left the field after a head-clash late in the game leaving McCaw and rookie Sam Cane as the All Blacks' only specialist loose forwards on the field.

Liam Messam has been added to the squad to cover the dwindling stocks of loose forwards but Hansen said there would be no additional locks.

Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick started the first two Tests in the middle row with Williams coming off the bench. The uncapped Luke Romano, who is already in the squad, will take his place next week.

All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson confirmed 31-year-old Williams, a 75-Test veteran, was heading for a long lay-off.

"Once he has had the surgery, we will have a clearer idea of how long he will be out of rugby but he is expected to be out for a minimum of eight weeks," she said.

The damage is to the same knee that Williams had an operation on in the off-season, but Robinson said the injury was a new one.


  • Cape - 2012-06-17 10:37

    Get well Reado and bad luck for Ali - seems retirement is the way to go Ali, good servant of the game.

      ckrohne1 - 2012-06-17 14:57 have nick names for them Dude,

      ckrohne1 - 2012-06-17 14:58

      Agree though, Ali has been an outstanding ambassador for the game of rugby....

  • Michele - 2012-06-17 13:32

    From what I have seen from the All Blacks and Wallabies over the last 2 weeks the Boks have nothing to worry about in the coming Championship. They have been mediocre at best.

      ckrohne1 - 2012-06-17 14:59

      @Michele: Agree the all blacks is overrated for the last couple of years. Go Bokke

      Rich - 2012-06-17 16:59

      And Michele, I suppose you thought the same thing when the Abs won their previous ten TN titles. How may titles have the Boks won? Nothing to worry about? Mediocre at best? - bit early to be making these judgements - the Rugby Championship doesn't start till August 18.

  • juancarlos.navarro.75491 - 2012-06-18 11:07

    Thank cripes for that ....... Williams time to me to go back to Europe and leave these shores you have had your time in the sun , you are just not up to the task anymore sorry , thank you and farewell

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