Tony Woodcock injury offers up 'valuable time'

Last updated 13:06 31/07/2014
Tony Woodcock
Getty Images

All Blacks coach finds positives in likely season-ending shoulder injury of prop Tony Woodcock.

Have the All Blacks selectors been too harsh?

Share your stories, photos and videos.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Tom Taylor signs with French Top 14 club Bayonne Serious injury concern for Chiefs' All Black lock Brodie Retallick after shoulder blow Dan Carter pivotal to All Black's World Cup chances, says former coach Graham Henry NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew forecasts 'modest profit' for 2014 France 'loaded' on drugs for infamous 1986 All Blacks 'Battle of Nantes' test Former All Black Piri Weepu to leave London Welsh after signing deal with French club Oyonnax New Zealand Rugby says mosquito-transmitted disease in Samoa won't threaten Apia test match Andy Ellis earned the yen in Japan but lost chance to return to the All Blacks fold Richie McCaw refutes links with offshore clubs, remains mute on retirement talk All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa sticks with NZ rugby for next three years

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen appears resigned to losing test veteran Tony Woodcock for the rest of 2014 - though he believes there is a significant upside to the loosehead prop's likely season-ending injury.

Hansen wrapped up the second day of a mini-camp with his non-Crusaders All Blacks in Auckland today, and said the prognosis was looking increasingly dim for Woodcock who was battling a serious shoulder problem.

The Blues' 110-test veteran has been replaced by Crusaders backup prop Joe Moody for the first two tests of the Rugby Championship, which kicked off with the Bledisloe opener on August 16 in Sydney, but Hansen admitted that was looking like being a more permanent arrangement.

Asked if things were "on the up" with Woodcock who was kitted out in training gear today, Hansen said the reality was quite the opposite.

"His shoulder is pretty loose, so we'll see what happens over the next seven days, then make a decision from there.

''There's no point mucking around - if it's not going to be right we might as well get it operated on. He'll get his first pre-season of note for 12 years, so there are some positives in it."

Hansen, when pressed, admitted it was more likely that Woodcock would get surgery at this stage. That would see him miss the remainder of the season.

"Whenever you get something that's disappointing, you've got to look for the positives," Hansen said.

"The positives are he'll get six or seven months before he has to play again.

"When you've been on the circuit as long as he has, that's valuable time.

"We'll fresh him up and get a revitalised Tony Woodcock [back]. The last test he played was pretty special, so if we can get some of that again that will be great."

The All Blacks coach said he was comfortable with his depth at loosehead prop, with Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks and Moody covering the position in the meantime, and less experienced sorts like Kane Hames, Pauliasi Manu and Tim Perry also on the radar.

Hansen confirmed openside flanker Sam Cane, who hasn't played any rugby since injuring his knee for the Chiefs on May 9, had proven his readiness in fitness testing and was ready to play whatever role required.

Meanwhile, Hansen has weighed in on the sevens debate, saying he had no problem with select All Blacks being part of the campaign for Olympic gold in 2016.

The trick, he said, was to put a process in place that would allow both the sevens programme and a likely rebuilding All Blacks one to achieve their goals in 2016.

"It's going to be a big year for whoever's in the [All Blacks]," Hansen added.

"There could be a lot of changes, so you wouldn't want a whole lot of people to go. But certainly there's room for some people to go and it's just about getting that balance right.

"It will affect the franchises as well. We don't want one franchise affected by losing a whole lot of players. There have been some really good discussions about it, no one is panicking, and everyone is on the same page.

"It's a massive opportunity at the Olympics, as is test rugby, so I'm sure the NZRU will do what's right and Titch will have a really good side and the All Blacks will have a really good side."

Ad Feedback

Hansen said the All Blacks and sevens programmes had to find a way to co-exist.

"We're going to have to because the New Zealand public will expect us to win gold in Rio and will expect us to win test matches from an All Blacks point of view.

"They have to co-exist, and that's why we have to be smart about how we go about it."

The All Blacks reassemble in Auckland next Thursday and will have a triple-header practice hitout against Northland and Northland on Friday.

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content