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New Zealand Rugby
Slade struggles to make an impression
ESPNscrum Staff
July 8, 2011

All Blacks hopeful Colin Slade struggled to further his international claims as his Canterbury side slumped to a 40-14 pre-season loss to Wellington in Petone on Friday.

Slade, who is making his comeback from a second broken jaw, faces stiff competition from Aaron Cruden to be Dan Carter's deputy during this year's Tri-Nations and Rugby World Cup but did little to boost his claims in a 40 minute cameo in difficult conditions.

The Dominion Post reports that Slade, playing with a minor groin injury, did not take Canterbury's re-starts or shots at goal and saw little ball in general play. In restricting him to just one half in addition to last Saturday's Ranfurly Shield defence against North Otago, the All Blacks selectors already appear to know all they need to about the 23-year-old who won his solitary Test cap against Australia last year.

Canterbury coach Rob Penney admitted the muddy conditions did not help his No.10. "The conditions weren't great for him to be pulling his legs out of the mud considering he has got some groin issues," Penney said. "Forty minutes today was sufficient. It's just a shame that at the moment he's got these little issues that are holding him back."

Wellington also had a few players pushing for the nod in Sunday's All Blacks squad with scrum-half Piri Weepu, centre Conrad Smith and fullback Cory Jane all making notable contributions.

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