Injuries take toll on All Blacks
Christchurch (New Zealand) (AFP)
New Zealand's plans to reshuffle their lineup after wrapping up the Rugby Championship may be forced rather than manufactured because of a mounting injury toll.
Aaron Cruden (groin) and Sam Cane (hamstring) have already been ruled out of the series while there is a question mark over Jerome Kaino.
Kaino damaged his left shoulder during Saturday's 41-13 victory over South Africa in Christchurch and may miss Friday's flight to Argentina for their next Rugby Championship match on October 1.
The thumping win over the Springboks gave the All Blacks an unbeatable lead in the championship with their away matches against Argentina and South Africa still to come.
Kaino was injured when he fell awkwardly in a tackle, and assistant coach Ian Foster said Sunday it would take a few days to know whether he would be fit to travel.
"He will be in a sling for a few days. We will make a decision later in the week, about whether he comes," Foster said.
"It is the sort of thing that comes right pretty quickly, but we just have to wait three or four days for it to settle down."
Waisake Naholo, who pulled a hamstring in the opening match against Australia, and George Moala, who injured a knee during the June series against Wales, are expected to travel.
The All Blacks, with a relatively stable line up, have dominated the series amassing 24 tries with bonus point wins in all four matches, prompting head coach Steve Hansen to say it was time to give more players international experience.
Springboks coach Allister Coetzee attributed the All Blacks' domination of the game to their constant forward planning to have a succession line in place for any eventuality.
Hansen said that policy was not about to change as the world champions faced the daunting prospect of seven Tests in seven countries over an eight-week period.
"We're getting to that point in the season where we have to roll the dice anyway," he said without elaborating on the changes ahead.
"You can't keep playing the same athletes the whole time and expect to have that same zing."
© 2016 AFP