15 Sep 2011

Injuries sideline McCaw, Muliaina and Dagg

6:56 pm on 15 September 2011

All Black captain Richie McCaw and fullbacks Mils Muliaina and Israel Dagg have been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Japan in Hamilton on Friday due to injury.

McCaw, who was due to play his 100th test, has suffered a minor calf strain in his left leg, Muliaina has a tight right hamstring and Dagg a right abdominal strain.

First five Dan Carter had already pulled out of the match having failed to recover from a back injury.

He suffered a knock to the back in the opener against Tonga last Friday and Dr Robinson says while he is recovering, he was still sore during training on Wednesday and management decided not to risk him.

Team doctor Deb Robinson says the good news is that all the injuries are minor and the four players should be ready to take a full part in training next week in the lead up to the test against France.

She says she's gone over whether there were any factors which may have contributed to the injuries, including training overload, poor practice conditions or anything out of the ordinary but says she's come up with nothing.

Line-up against Japan

The injuries have forced a reshuffle of the starting 15 and the reserves bench.

The All Blacks team to play Japan will be captained by hooker Keven Mealamu.

Isaia Toeava will start at fullback, Adam Thomson will shift to openside flanker and Victor Vito will come off the bench to start at number eight.

Lock Anthony Boric goes onto the bench to replace Vito.