24 Aug 2009

All Blacks win comes at high cost

2:36 pm on 24 August 2009

The All Blacks' 19-18 Test win over the Wallabies in Sydney has come at a cost, with midfielders Luke McAlister and Conrad Smith potentially ruled out for the rest of the Tri-Nations.

Coach Graham Henry confirmed McAlister suffered a fractured cheekbone and Smith a torn hamstring during the victory that sealed the Bledisloe Cup for another year and kept the All Blacks' Tri-Nations hopes alive.

Henry said it was likely McAlister would miss the rest of the Tri-Nations, with Tests against South Africa in Hamilton on September 12 and the Wallabies in Wellington on September 19 to follow.

McAlister was dazed and bloodied by an early head clash with Wallaby Luke Burgess, then suffered the fracture with another head clash with Peter Hynes in the 50th minute.

Henry praised the fortitude of his players after five-eighth Dan Carter kicked the match-winning penalty with 90 seconds remaining before holding off a determined late charge by the hosts.