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Gallaher Cup - New Zealand v France
Dan Carter in doubt for first Test
ESPN Staff
June 3, 2013
New Zealand's Dan Carter takes on the Scotland defence, Scotland v New Zealand, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 11, 2012
Dan Carter is struggling to grip the ball at training © Getty Images
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Dan Carter is a doubt for the opening Test of the three-match Gallaher Cup series against France, after cracking a bone in his right hand while playing for the Crusaders on Friday night.

Carter has been working out with the All Blacks in Auckland ahead of the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday, but New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said that medical staff could not establish the full extent of the damage until the swelling had subsided and a final decision would not be made unti Thursday.

New Zealand squad to play France

  • Props: Ben Afeaki (North Harbour, Chiefs), Wyatt Crockett (Canterbury, Crusaders), Ben Franks (Hawke's Bay, Hurricanes), Owen Franks (Canterbury, Crusaders), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour, Highlanders).
  • Hookers: Dane Coles (Wellington, Hurricanes), Andrew Hore (Taranaki, Highlanders), Keven Mealamu (Auckland, Blues).
  • Second-rows: Brodie Retallick (Bay of Plenty, Chiefs), Luke Romano (Canterbury, Crusaders), Jeremy Thrush (Wellington, Hurricanes), Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury, Crusaders).
  • Backrowers: Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, Chiefs), Steven Luatua (Auckland, Blues), Liam Messam (Waikato, Chiefs), Kieran Read (captain, Canterbury, Crusaders), Matt Todd (Injury replacement, Canterbury, Crusaders), Victor Vito (Wellington, Hurricanes).
  • Scrum-halves: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Waikato, Chiefs), Aaron Smith (Manawatu, Highlanders), Piri Weepu (Auckland, Blues).
  • Fly-halves: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki, Hurricanes), Daniel Carter (Canterbury, Crusaders), Aaron Cruden (Manawatu, Chiefs).
  • Centres: Ma'a Nonu (Wellington, Highlanders), Rene Ranger (Northland, Blues), Francis Saili (North Harbour, Blues), Conrad Smith (Wellington, Hurricanes).
  • Outside backs: Israel Dagg (Hawke's Bay, Crusaders), Charles Piutau (Auckland, Blues), Julian Savea (Wellington, Hurricanes), Ben Smith (Otago, Highlanders).

Hansen said the swelling was causing difficulties in gripping the ball, so Carter might be well enough to play if the swelling went down. "We're very fortunate that we've got people like 'Crudes' [Aaron Cruden] and [Beauden] Barrett available," Hansen said. "They've all had the same time together so it won't be disrupting anything [at training. It's a game where you are going to get injuries; we've just got to accept that and plan for it, and trust the people who come in and do the job."

He said that Carter was in good shape and had never been far from his best in the Super Rugby competition. "Mentally I don't think I've seen him as sharp and keen for a long time. He's itching to go, we've just got to make sure we let him go at the right time."

Carter is but one All Blacks player with niggles, and Crusaders prop Joe Moody has been called in as scrummaging cover because of concerns about several front-rowers. The propping issues are related to hamstrings, and Tony Woodcock has an abscess in his nose. "We'll make decisions about how those guys are when we get them on the [training] track," Hansen said.

Piri Weepu, meanwhile, is suffering no side effects after his concussion from the weekend, but he will be limited to non-contact training until he is reviewed later in the week.

© Sportal
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