All Blacks lose duo as World Cup injury toll mounts | Pakistan Today

All Blacks lose duo as World Cup injury toll mounts

New Zealand’s bid to win the World Cup suffered a double blow Monday as Mils Muliaina and stand-in fly-half Colin Slade became the latest All Blacks to be ruled out of the tournament through injury. With star No 10 Dan Carter already out of action with a groin injury, Slade succumbed to a similar problem to ensure the stand-off’s 24th birthday here on Monday was not one he would remember with any great fondness.
“Have we got the depth?,” said New Zealand coach Graham Henry, posing the question on the minds of All Black fans across the rugby-mad nation as they contemplated a semi-final against old rivals Australia here on Sunday.
“We’ll find out in the next two weeks, I guess,” Henry added. Hosea Gear and Stephen Donald will replace 100 cap full-back Muliaina, who has a fractured shoulder, and Slade respectively in the squad after the duo suffered their setbacks during a 33-10 quarter-final win over Argentina last weekend.
The sidelining of Slade brought Aaron Cruden into play eight days after he was rushed into the team following Carter’s injury. Asked if Cruden was now New Zealand’s top fly-half, Henry said: “It looks that way, doesn’t it? “Obviously, they (Carter and Slade) were the first two fly-halves chosen and that is a setback, but that’s the reality.”
However, Cruden’s father said his son’s experience of overcoming cancer two years ago would help him cope with being thrust into the World Cup spotlight. “He doesn’t get down when anything goes wrong, he just believes that every day’s another day to be alive,” Stu Cruden told TVNZ.
New Zealand have previously insisted captain Richie McCaw, one of the world’s leading openside flankers, is having to be ‘nursed’ through the latter stages of the tournament in order to manage a longstanding foot problem.
But Robinson said: “Richie came through 70-odd minutes last (Sunday) night and I’ve just spoken to him and he’s pretty good.” Australia too have injury concerns, with the Wallabies sweating on the fitness of Kurtley Beale after the gifted full-back suffered fresh hamstring trouble in their 11-9 quarter-final win over defending champions South Africa. Midfielder Pat McCabe (shoulder) and prop forward Sekope Kepu (ankle) were the other notable casualties from a bruising encounter with the Springboks.

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