New Zealand is in no rush to clear its list of injured players even though it must win its remaining pool games to reach the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.
Forwards coach Jason Ryan’s update this week had none of the injured in contention to play against Namibia on Friday [Saturday, 03:00] in Toulouse.
Neither will back-rower Ethan Blackadder, who has arrived in France as an emergency call-up. He will be given time to settle in.
Injured captain Sam Cane (back), fellow back-rower Shannon Frizell (hamstring), prop Tyrel Lomax (gashed knee) and inside center Jordie Barrett (inflamed knee) were all first picks.
The All Blacks were taking the long view to get them healthy. After Namibia, they have a weekend off then a crucial match with Italy on Sept. 29.
Cane ran some but didn’t train on Monday. He’s treating the back he tweaked on Thursday, and which forced him to withdraw from the tournament opener against France last Friday. France won 27-13 convincingly.
“We’ve got to get him right and now’s the chance to do that,” Ryan said. “We won’t be taking any risks with skip because he’s important to us.”
Cane’s injury was the main reason the All Blacks chose to replace injured winger Emoni Narawa, who has gone home, with Blackadder, who has nine caps in an injury-plagued career.
The coaches hoped Frizell can start training fully next week. Barrett and Lomax are running, and Lomax got into some scrums.
“Those boys have been working hard,” Ryan said. “We are going to need them all.”
Ryan also addressed the scrum, where the All Blacks conceded penalties that cost them points and momentum. Second-year loosehead prop Ethan de Groot took a lot of heat for the second straight test defeat, following the mauling by South Africa at Twickenham last month. MDT/AP