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New Zealand v Australia, Rugby World Cup, October 16, 2011
Donald ready to step up
ESPNscrum Staff
October 11, 2011
All Blacks fly-half Stephen Donald faces the media after his call-up to their Rugby World Cup squad, Heritage Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, October 11, 2011
Stephen Donald is set to provide back-up to Aaron Cruden © Getty Images
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Bath-bound fly-half Stephen Donald is ready to step into the breach following his late call-up to the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup squad.

The 27-year-old, capped 22 times by New Zealand, is set to provide back-up to Aaron Cruden in Sunday's semi-final against Australia, having been drafted in following a tournament ending injury to Colin Slade - understudy to crocked superstar Dan Carter.

Donald was enjoying time off in Waikato before making the switch to Aviva Premiership side Bath in November, but admitted that he never gave up hope of a call-up.

"You're always hopeful and I was keeping fit and just waiting. My chance has come now so that's all I'm worried about," he said.

"I was down the Waikato River whitebaiting. I think Ted [All Blacks boss Graham Henry] had missed me a couple of times and then I finally got a call from Milsy [Mils Muliaina] and he said, 'Start answering your phone, you idiot', so that was sort of the message I needed."

Donald is confident that he will be able to step up to the physical demands of a Test return, with scrum-half Piri Weepu unlikely to be used as cover at No.10.

"I've had a good break, a good month away and have just been enjoying watching the World Cup," he said. "Now I've been given a crack and an opportunity here which I'm extremely excited about being a part of. Fitness-wise I'm pretty confident. Very confident."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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