All Blacks suffer first Rugby World Cup injury scare

The All Blacks suffered their first Rugby World Cup injury scare as began in
earnest when fly-half Colin Slade went down with a knee problem.

Slade received medical attention after slipping over in Wellington, an incident
which revived memories of New Zealand’s injury woes at the last tournament in

The All Blacks have played the injury down saying that Slade is fine and is
not in any danger of missing the World Cup.

“He slipped over during training and landed awkwardly on his knee and
gave it a bit of a tweak,” assistant coach Ian Foster said.

“He was walking around the shed afterwards. He’s fine.”

Slade was one of three fly-halves sidelined with injury during the 2011 World
Cup, almost derailing New Zealand’s bid to win the tournament on home soil.

They needed fourth choice Stephen Donald to score a crucial penalty during
the final in Auckland to secure a nail-biting 8-7 win over France and end their
24-year wait to regain the trophy.

The last thing New Zealand wants is a similar injury run at the tournament
in England starting this month, but Foster said there would be no holding back
in training.

“We’re preparing for a Rugby World Cup,” he said. “It’s a contact
sport and we’ve got to make sure we’re battle-hardened and ready to go.”

Foster also attempted to downplay winger Waisake Naholo’s stunning return from
a broken leg, which has been attributed to traditional Fijian medicine administered
by his uncle.

“It was a cultural thing,” he said. “I know talking about miracles
and stuff like that sells papers but at the end of the day the timeline we were
given from our medicos is pretty spot-on.

“We’re not belittling anything culturally but we do trust our medicos
explicitly and the information they’ve given us has been backed up.”

In fact it was Foster’s boss, head coach Steve Hansen, not the media, who originally
ruled Naholo out of the World Cup because of the injury.

Hansen said on July 18: “He’ll be out for three months which means he’s
going to miss the World Cup.”

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