Six top ABs crocked

The New Zealand Cup quarter-finals were marked by injuries to six Test players, with less than a month remaining before the All Blacks tour Europe.

In Auckland’s resounding 46-14 win over Bay of Plenty, winger Doug Howlett strained medial ligaments in his right knee, and is in serious doubt to make the tour. Lock Ali Williams was taken to hospital after suffering a neck injury, and centre Isaia Toeava left the field with a thigh injury.

In Canterbury’s 23-36 loss to Wellington, All Black captain Richie McCaw complained of blurred vision after sustaining a knock to the head early in the second half. Canterbury were already without six of their key players due to injury, including Greg Somerville, Reuben Thorne and Leon MacDonald.

In the Otago versus North Harbour clash, which Otago won convincingly at 56-21, both flyhalves were ruled out in one movement. Luke McAlister will take no contact for the next few weeks after a try-saving tackle by Nick Evans forced him from the field. Evans’ heroics cost him dearly, however, as the tackle damaged his AC joint.

The first game of New Zealand’s European tour is on 6 November against England at Twickenham.