Sunday 17 December 2017

Carter exits due to groin injury

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a groin injury at training, the team's doctor Deb Robinson said last night.

The 29-year-old had been named captain for the All Blacks' final Pool A game against Canada today but had to withdraw from the team after sustaining the injury while practising his kicking at training. "It has been confirmed he has a significant groin injury. He has torn the left adductor longus tendon completely," Robinson said.

Carter will travel to Auckland with the rest of the squad

for further diagnosis but it was not yet clear if he required surgery, Robinson added. Manawatu fly-half Aaron Cruden has been brought into the squad.

The loss of Carter is a huge blow because his back-up Colin Slade has produced mixed performances in his appearances to date and fans had been concerned that his lack of Test experience was a gamble by the coaching staff heading into the tournament.

Carter's exit comes on the back of news that captain Richie McCaw, the only specialist openside flanker in the team, has been battling a nagging foot injury that forced him out of the Canada match and requires constant management.

Both players were considered integral to New Zealand's chances of ending a 24-year hoodoo at the World Cup, with Carter finding some of his best form as he challenged defensive lines with his running, distribution and kicking skills.

New Zealand have not won the Webb Ellis trophy since the initial tournament in 1987, despite entering every World Cup since as hot favourites to claim the title. "It's devastating for Daniel," New Zealand coach Graham Henry said. "This was his scene and it was going to be his big occasion. I feel very sad for him but he is the type of guy who will handle this. He has strength of character."

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