McCaw faces tough challenge to get over injury

All Black coach Graham Henry has admitted that Captain Richie McCaw faces a “big mental challenge” in dealing with his constant foot injury for the rest of the Rugby World Cup.

McCaw has been named in the starting line up for the quarter final clash against Argentina but has not taken part in full training this weekend with his team-mates.

A foot injury has troubled McCaw since February and had surgery and missed the first seven games of the Super Rugby season.

McCaw has had very little game time so far at the Rugby World Cup and was even withdrawn for the clash against Japan.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen confirmed that McCaw has been unable to take part in “physical, hard, body-contact stuff” at training.

Head coach Henry said that McCaw will have to deal with the ongoing issue of not having a normal preparation ahead of each rugby match.

“I think Richie has got a challenge on. He hasn’t played for a while and he’s not preparing as he normally does, so it’s going to be a big mental challenge for him,” Henry told the Otago Daily Times.

“It’s niggly and he’s looking after it as best he can. He will play on the weekend. It’s just an ongoing thing really. “

“He’s got to do what he can do during the week to perform at the weekend. He’s controlling himself very well I think.”

Henry does not know whether the injury is getting worse and said that it is a waiting game for the All Blacks’ captain.

“I don’t know. I’ll tell you after Sunday. He hasn’t played a couple of weeks.”

“It’s just that he runs on it and feels good and wakes up the next day and it’s niggly again.

“So hopefully we’ve got three games ahead of us and it’s just a matter of trying to make sure he’s available for each of those three games.”

“He’s got to tailor what he does running-wise to be able to handle that eventuality.

“He’s a pretty experienced sort of rugby player. He’ll do what he thinks is best to make sure he can play well on Sunday.”

McCaw being named in the All Blacks line up means that they will have their top loose-forward trio for Sunday’s match at Eden Park but they still face some challenges Henry said.

“Jerome Kaino is playing the rugby of his life at the moment and Kieran Read has played 50 minutes in six weeks so there are a few challenges for them but they have a lot of experience together and are a world-class unit when they are right.”

Worryingly for the All Blacks McCaw is not the only injury concern as loose-forward Adam Thomson was unavailable for selection due to injury along with utility backs Israel Dagg (thigh haematoma) and Richard Kahui (hamstring) and winger Zac Guildford is out injured too.


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