Friday, September 16, 2011

McCaw, Muliaina and Dagg unavailable for Japan Test

All Blacks

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina have been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup Test against Japan tomorrow, Friday 16 September, after suffering injuries.

Fullback Israel Dagg has also been injured, following a training session at St Peter’s College in Cambridge late yesterday afternoon. The players were ruled out after being further assessed by All Blacks medical staff this morning.

The All Blacks team to play Japan will now be captained by hooker Keven Mealamu.

All Blacks Doctor Deb Robinson said McCaw, who was due to play his 100th Test against Japan, had suffered a minor calf strain in his left leg, Muliaina had a tight right hamstring and Dagg had a right abdominal strain.

“It was a bad day at the office as far as injuries are concerned but the good news is that all the injuries are not serious.

“There would be risk of further injury to these players if we let them play so we have withdrawn them. We will now concentrate on their rehabilitation with the aim of getting them ready to resume training next week to prepare for the France Test.”

The injuries have forced a reshuffle of the starting XV and the reserves bench for the Test against Japan. Isaia Toeava will now start at fullback, Adam Thomson will shift to openside flanker and Victor Vito comes off the bench to start at number eight. Lock Anthony Boric comes onto the bench to replace Vito.

All Blacks Coach Graham Henry said: “It’s disappointing to have the players unavailable, especially Richie and Mils who were both looking forward to playing against Japan. But injuries are something that we all have to deal with and it’s great that we have versatility in the squad so Isaia is able to slot in at fullback.”

The revised All Blacks team to play Japan is now as follows:

Starting XV:

1. Tony Woodcock (77)
2. Keven Mealamu (86) – captain
3. Owen Franks (25)
4. Brad Thorn (53)
5. Sam Whitelock (19)
6. Jerome Kaino (42)
7. Adam Thomson (22)
8. Victor Vito (9)
9. Andy Ellis (21)
10. Colin Slade (6)
11. Richard Kahui (13)
12. Ma’a Nonu (61)
13. Conrad Smith (49)
14. Cory Jane (27)
15. Isaia Toeava (33)

16. Andrew Hore (56)
17. John Afoa (34)
18. Ali Williams (67)
19. Anthony Boric (21)
20. Jimmy Cowan (48)
21. Piri Weepu (50)
22. Sonny Bill Williams (8)

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