Double blow for All Blacks
Star flyhalf Dan Carter and prop Tony Woodcock will miss New Zealand's Test against Ireland on Sunday.
Star flyhalf Dan Carter and prop Tony Woodcock will miss New Zealand's Test against Ireland on Sunday, after picking up injuries against England, coach Steve Hansen said on Monday.
Carter's 100th Test appearance was cut short when he limped off with an Achilles injury in the first-half of the 30-22 victory at Twickenham, while Woodcock did not emerge for the second half after hurting his hamstring just before the break.
Hansen said the pair would return to New Zealand as the rest of the squad prepare for the Ireland Test, in which they will bid to become the first international team in the game's professional era to win every match of the season.
"Dan has not had a scan yet, but [team] medics said with the problems he's been having it's just too big a risk to go through the week," Hansen said in remarks released on the All Blacks official website.
"We've got Crudes [Aaron Cruden] and Beauden [Barrett] who can both do the job, so we'll just get on with it with those two."
The Achilles problem brought Carter's season to an anti-climactic end. He was already scheduled to take an extended break from the game after the Ireland Test to try to ensure he is fit for the 2015 World Cup.
Pundits said Carter, 31, who will sit out England's three-Test tour to New Zealand in June next year and most of the 2014 Super Rugby season, now had to be considered a doubtful starter at the game's showcase tournament in two years' time.
"Everyone in the management of the All Blacks, and Carter himself, are now hoping that time off will sort out his medical woes," the New Zealand Herald said.
"He's so damaged now that it feels his only hope of fulfilling his World Cup dream is to rest, rebuild and somehow come back to rugby with every problem fixed."
Carter, widely regarded as the best player ever in his position, has been plagued by injuries for years, rupturing an Achilles playing in France and missing much of New Zealand's triumphant 2011 World Cup campaign with a groin strain.
The problems have intensified in the past 18 months and the Dominion Post said it appeared Carter was being "betrayed by a body that does not seem to match his determination to play at this level for three or four more years".