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New Zealand Rugby
McCaw dismisses injury concerns
ESPNscrum Staff
July 16, 2011

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is adamant he ready to lead New Zealand in the Tri-Nations despite concerns over his fitness.

The world-class flanker struggled with a troublesome foot injury throughout the 2011 Super Rugby season but captained the Crusaders in the semi-finals and the season finale against the Reds. McCaw's performances in both matches were perceived by critics to not be up to his normal rampaging best which led to suggestions that perhaps he was still suffering from his foot injury.

McCaw, however, has rubbished such suggestions and is keen to play as much rugby as possible prior to the World Cup. "Every game you get under your belt, you're going to be better for it," he said. "Hopefully I'll have a run around next week and the week after and each time I take the field will be good.

"This week with the travel I haven't been able to do the extra work like I'll be doing when we're getting back into it. Certainly from this week on we'll be able do that and hopefully I'll get better and better."

With the Crusaders and the Blues progressing to the latter stages of the Super Rugby competition, McCaw concedes a week off in the near future for some would suit their conditioning in the long run as the All Blacks aim to win rugby's biggest prize on their home soil.

"The guys could probably carry on now but to give them the next week off, or space somewhere, it's going to pay dividends down the track," McCaw said. "We've got to have faith in the fellas that are fresh and raring to go. You look around the squad of 30 and we've got some good players there we'll be able to fit in.

"If we end up in three or four weeks' time with everybody back fresh and the team ticking along that will be what we're after. But no one thing is going to suit everyone. For me I need to go and play and I'm excited about that."

The All Blacks arrive in Dunedin on Monday ahead of their Test against Fiji on 22 July and start their Tri-Nations campaign against South Africa on July 30. McCaw is adamant the New Zealand camp needs to gel quickly and get into a match-winning mentality immediately.

"We'll only have three or four days training before that test with a couple of new guys or some who haven't been here for a while. We need everything ticking over well because we're going to have to hit the ground running for the Tri-Nations."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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