All Blacks squad still sweating on injured duo

MARC HINTON
Last updated 17:04 18/08/2014
Ma'a Nonu
Getty Images
IN DOUBT: All Blacks second-five Ma'a Nonu is set to miss Saturday's test with a shoulder injury.

Related Links

Global glee at All Blacks world record failure All Blacks centre Conrad Smith becomes Dad All Blacks pack needs big response in Auckland Back to the draw-ing board for All Blacks Ma'a Nonu an injury concern for All Blacks

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Ma'a Nonu heading for France after Rugby World Cup Wayne Smith set for return to All Blacks for World Cup defence Brodie Retallick the All Blacks' driving force in 2014 Rugby-free holiday for All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Awe and envy in Europe over Dan Carter's lucrative contract with Racing Metro Post-World Cup exodus of All Blacks stars doesn’t concern NZRU boss Steve Tew All Black star Dan Carter won't fade lightly into the night Knowler: Dan Carter deal a gamble for Racing Metro Money the big factor in Dan Carter's move to Racing Metro Dan Carter confirms deal with French club Racing Metro

The All Blacks were playing the waiting game in Auckland today - standing by for the results of scans on crocked senior players Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino, and news of just when veteran centre Conrad Smith would rejoin them.

Nonu's shoulder injury is thought to be the most serious of the injuries from Saturday night's 12-12 streak-busting draw against the Wallabies in Sydney, with the All Blacks brains trust today pondering alternative midfield combinations for the Eden Park rematch.

Kaino took a blow to the elbow and was in some discomfort after the game.

The All Blacks confirmed today they expected Smith to rejoin them in plenty of time to prepare for Saturday's second Bledisloe test in Auckland after his wife had given birth to their first son yesterday.

Smith was a late defection from the All Blacks lineup in Sydney when he made a Friday dash back to Wellington to be with wife after the birth schedule hit fast-forward.

But whether he teams back up with Nonu or forms a new midfield partnership with either Malakai Fekitoa or Ryan Crotty should be clearer tomorrow once details of the scan are known.

"It's a hard one," said No 8 Kieran Read today of the two walking wounded. "They were both a little bit down yesterday with the injuries. It's just a case of waiting and seeing with the scans, and hopefully it's all positive."

Read felt even if changes had to be made, they would not impact greatly on prospects for Eden Park where the All Blacks haven't lost in 20 years.

"It's early days, we've got pretty much a full squad to lean on, and in terms of how we'll continue I don't think it's going to be too much of issue."

Liam Messam shapes as the logical replacement for Jerome Kaino, while Crotty's proven ability in the No 12 role probably gives him a slight edge over Fekitioa should Nonu be ruled out.

Today's first full day of preparation in Auckland involved a lengthy match review meeting in which some home truths were spelt out around discipline and improvements needed.

"We discussed the ways we can improve as a team," said Read. "We've got to be honest with ourselves if we want to get better. It's nothing too different than normal - it's about us getting our game right for this week."

Backup five-eighth Beauden Barrett said an "honest" review had placed a heavy emphasis on execution. "We've got to work hard on our skillsets. I think the clarity is right, it's just about doing it."

Ad Feedback

Discipline had also been a hot topic in the wake of the two yellow cards that put a serious handbrake on the All Black effort on Saturday night.

"It's discussed every week," added Barrett who received the second of the sin-binnings. "You can't get on the wrong side of the ref, you've got to take extra step at ruck time and you've got to do as much as you can to keep the penalty count low."

Read said he did not think discipline had suddenly become an issue for the world's No 1 team who had their 17-test win streak gazumped by Saturday's draw.

"It's something we certainly have to improve on. We can't be giving away the amount of penalties we did last week. But I don't think it's an issue. It's about us being disciplined enough to back ourselves and our systems."

- 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