Matson must ask permission to play Crockett

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2012
Wyatt Crockett
Peter Meecham/Fairfax Media
IN LIMBO: Wyatt Crockett must be cleared by the All Blacks' coaches if he is to play for Canterbury against Southland.

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The All Blacks are about 10,000 kilometres away and in a different time zone, but Tabai Matson still needs their approval to select Wyatt Crockett.

Canterbury coach Matson expects to know today whether loosehead prop Crockett, who was left out of the All Blacks' squad to Argentina and South Africa, can be considered for their match against Southland at AMI Stadium on Sunday.

Crockett, who didn't train yesterday because of a sore back, was ejected from the All Blacks' 28-man squad when it was decided Beauden Barrett should travel as backup to Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden.

Matson expects to discuss Crockett's immediate future with All Blacks manager Darren Shand today and hinted he wasn't hopeful he would play against Southland.

"That really comes down to the All Blacks anyway," Matson said. "Depending on what they want from him this week will determine whether we get him on Sunday or not."

Tony Woodcock is expected to start at loosehead prop against Argentina in La Plata on Sunday.

Matson was uncertain of the reasons why Crockett, if he is fit, would be withdrawn from the Southland game.

"I'm not sure, that conversation will happen on Wednesday.

"He's pulled up sore, so I don't think the All Blacks will compromise him by playing a game for us on Sunday."

Even if given approval to play Crockett, Matson may prefer to manage him as he prepares for three games in 10 days ahead of the playoffs.

Outside back Johnny McNicholl missed training because of illness and Matson said the next two weeks would be about damage limitation.

After this week the side will train just once as it focuses on keeping bodies intact. "Coming through unscathed is as good as a bonus-point at this time of the year.

"It is all about recovery after this week and mitigating the risk, really, and training is one of those risk factors," Matson said.

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