All Blacks coach Graham Henry is considering resting flyhalf Dan Carter and captain Richie McCaw for next weekend’s Vodacom Tri-Nations Test in Rustenburg.
After watching his team take yet another beating, Bok coach Jake White complained, tongue-in-cheek, that he wished for Henry to “change the players in the No 7 and No 10 jerseys.”
Carter and McCaw are the two players that have made life very difficult for the Boks in this year’s competition. Without them White seems to think he would have a far better chance of getting an upset win next Saturday.
When asked whether he would do White a favour, Henry chuckled. “We will see what we can do (for him),” laughed Henry. “They are obviously two outstanding world class players, but they are not indispensable. We had Luke McAlister slot in well against Ireland earlier this year and Chris Masoe did a great job against Argentina.”
There are a number of injuries to the All Blacks that will necessitate changes anyway. “Yes, obviously we have a number of injuries so things will change for sure. We will be looking to bring in a prop and a loose-forward definitely from home, but we will consult the selectors and make a decision tomorrow.”
Prop Greg Somerville has torn his Achilles tendon and will probably be out for six months, according to Henry. He will definitely miss next weeks Test. But that is not the only problem facing the All Blacks coach.
“Chris Masoe has quite a serious ankle injury and Leon MacDonald has injured his hip. They will both probably be out for two to three weeks. And Reuben Thorne may have broken thumb. Those three look like they are probably out of the Test too.”
Henry said he was not sure whether strongman Carl Hayman would have recovered sufficiently to be flown over. “I don’t know yet about Carl. We will get some information on that later tonight, so that is an ongoing situation.”
By Andrew Hollely