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Why the All Blacks’ depth is a ‘concern’ ahead of Rugby World Cup

By Finn Morton
Joe Moody playing for New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images

With just three months to go until this year’s Rugby World Cup in France, the All Blacks’ injury toll has been described as a “concern” by former New Zealand wing Jeff Wilson.

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With just a few weeks to go in Super Rugby Pacific, the international season is nearly upon us.

The All Blacks will name their 36-player squad for the Rugby Championship this weekend live on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown, but a number of their frontline stars may be unavailable.

David Havili, Joe Moody, Fletcher Newell, Quinn Tupaea and George Bower are among the players included in the All Blacks’ current injury list.

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While he wasn’t included in the list of names highlighted on The Breakdown, veteran second rower Sam Whitelock also picked up an injury against the Hurricanes last Saturday.

As former All Black Jeff Wilson discussed, one position is becoming a “concern” for the All Blacks ahead of the “challenge” that awaits them in France.

“It presents the opportunity for players that they might not have got a chance to look at,” Wilsons said on The Breakdown.

“They have four Test matches before the South African Test at Twickenham before the Rugby World Cup, there’s a Rugby Championship, but they’ve got to pick… 36 players.

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“I tried to write 36 guys’ names down, excluding those 36 guys wo are injured, and it’s hard to get to 36 guys to fill the positions.

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“There’s an All Blacks XV team that’s going to be named on the same day that’s going to play a couple of Test matches in Japan.

“The concern for me… prop for me right now is surely an issue if we’re thinking about the challenge in front of us going into a Rugby World Cup.”

As revealed last month, All Blacks and Crusaders prop Joe Moody will miss the rest of the Super Rugby Pacific after undergoing surgery to repair a tendon in his ankle.

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“The major concern for me is how bad is Joe Moody? How bad is he? He’s a linchpin of that number one jersey,” former All Black Steven Bates added.

“Out of all the guys that were on that board there, that’s the biggest concern for me.”

But as Bates discussed, coach Ian Foster “can’t control” who is and isn’t injured. The All Blacks will have a plan to manage their squad if some players aren’t available.

“It’s hard to say who’s going to come back,” Bates said.

“The other issue is when they come back, their timing that they come back, as a general rule they need a couple of games before they go (to the World Cup).

“Timing is paramount to when they come back.

“At the end of the day that is something that Ian Foster can’t control. Yes, he’s got to have it in his rear-view mirror… they’ll have all backup plans for when they guys come (back).”

The All Blacks will begin their World Cup campaign in almost three months’ time when they take on hosts and favourites France.

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Comments

5 Comments
M
MitchO 412 days ago

Who are the front rowers for the squad? Samusoni t at 2 surely plus Dane coles then c Taylor? De groot Lo max then whom?

O
Otagoman II 413 days ago

I don't think Joe Moody is going to walk straight back in as the loosehead. De Groot is the incumbent. We found our frontrow last year.

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