‘We are confident’: All Blacks coach Ian Foster explains Blackadder selection
Coach Ian Foster told reporters this week that he’d been “excited” about Narawa’s steady return to full fitness after missing almost the entire Rugby Championship campaign with a back injury.
But Narawa was struck down by a cruel injury blow during a training session in Lyon on Monday, with scans confirming a disc issue that ended the wingers tournament.
Blackadder, 28, hasn’t worn the black jersey since 2021, but a majority of All Blacks fans appear thrilled with the decision to call up the Tasman Mako flanker.
With captain Sam Cane missing Friday night’s World Cup opener with a back injury, coach Ian Foster explained that Blackadder has “come in to reinforce the loose forward stock.”
“We’ve called Ethan in, he should be here Monday afternoon. That is a replacement for Emoni,” Foster said on Saturday.
“I guess with Sam Cane and his back popping out the last couple of days, Ethan’s come in to reinforce the loose forward stock.”
Skipper Cane was publicly ruled out just before the Test after picking up a back injury during the captain’s run. Foster said the skipper had sustained the blow while lifting a teammate at training.
“We are erring on the side of coverage with the six, seven types area, particularly with Sam’s back,” Foster added.
“Even though we are confident that is not long term, having Ethan in just gives us a little bit of extra protection in that space.
“We are just doing our medical stuff now but (Sam Cane) is certainly better than what he was yesterday which is great, and he was better yesterday than he was on Friday. So like I said, I don’t anticipate this being a long-term thing.
“Whether he’ll be right for Namibia I couldn’t tell you at the moment, but the medics don’t seem overly concerned by it at the moment.”
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