10 Oct 2011

Slade and Muliaina's World Cup over

8:15 pm on 10 October 2011

First it was star player Dan Carter - now the All Blacks have lost his back-up Colin Slade for the rest of the Rugby World Cup.

Slade's tournament is over after the first five-eighth was forced to leave the quarterfinal match against Argentina early on Sunday due to a groin tear and was replaced by Aaron Cruden.

His injury is similar to the one that put Carter out of the World Cup last week.

There was more bad news, with Mils Muliaina bowing out after the winger fractured a shoulder during his 100th test match on Sunday which the All Blacks won 33-10.

An emotional Muliaina admitted on Monday that the sudden end to his international career was hard to take.

"My job now is to be an outstanding spectator and get behind these guys. It is over, but I'm thankful for everything and all the opportunities I've been given as an All Black."

Muliaina will now play club rugby in Japan.

First five-eighth Stephen Donald and winger Hosea Gear have been called into the squad ahead of New Zealand's semifinal against Australia in Auckland on 16 October.

Donald last played for the All Blacks as a replacement against Scotland last year, while while Gear was widely considered the unluckiest player to miss out on inclusion in the World Cup squad.

All Blacks team doctor Deb Robinson says the mounting injury toll is partly bad luck and partly due to the rigours of the tournament.