14 Jun 2009

More injury worries for All Blacks

3:49 pm on 14 June 2009

The already injury-plagued All Blacks have suffered a further setback following their 27-22 Test loss to France with at least one more player added to the growing injury list.

Flanker Adam Thomson will be out for six weeks after he broke a bone in his hand.

There is also a question mark over hooker Andrew Hore who left the field early with rib cartilage damage.

A full assessment of the severity of his injury will be known within the next two days.

The under-strength All Blacks went into last night's Test missing 10 leading players including Richie McCaw, Rodney So'oialo, Ali Williams and Dan Carter.

The rawness of their understudies showed as the All Blacks were out-muscled and out-thought by the French, who scored three tries to two.

The Test also exposed the lack of depth in New Zealand rugby, created in part by the growing number of fringe internationals chasing lucrative contracts in the northern hemisphere.

Following the latest bout of injuries, opportunities have opened for two more uncapped players.

Crusaders flanker George Whitelock has been called in as Thomson's replacement and Waikato Chiefs hooker Aled de Malmanche joins the squad as cover for Hore.

All Black assitant coach Steve Hansen says Williams and Conrad Smith are unlikely to be available for next weekend's second test in Wellington, but Brendan Leonard and Jerome Kaino are likely to be available for selection.