Mon, Oct 09, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Domestic play-offs take heavy toll on All Blacks

AFP , WELLINGTON

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw looks on after his side's 20-21 defeat in the Tri-Nations rugby match against South Africa at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Sept. 2. McCaw suffered blurred vision after a blow to the head during a provincial game on the weekend.

PHOTO: AP

New Zealand's domestic rugby competition play-offs took a heavy toll on the All Blacks over the weekend with a string of injuries marring the Air New Zealand Cup quarter-finals.

six injured

Six internationals were taken from the field as Wellington, Auckland, Waikato and Otago made it through to the semi-finals.

In the Auckland ranks, wing Doug Howlett strained medial ligaments in his right knee, putting in jeopardy his place in the All Blacks end-of-season northern hemisphere tour.

Lock Ali Williams was taken to hospital as a precaution after damaging his neck and Isaia Toeava suffered a thigh injury in Auckland's 46-14 walloping of Bay of Plenty.

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who has a history of concussions, suffered blurred vision following a blow to the head early in the second half as his under-strength Canterbury side lost to Wellington 23-36.

Canterbury were already without six injured past and present All Blacks including Leon MacDonald, Greg Somerville and Reuben Thorne.

fly-halves

Otago thrashed the more highly fancied North Harbour 56-21, but not before the rival fly-halves Nick Evans and Luke McAlister were injured.

McAlister could be on non-contact training for a few weeks after he was crunched in a trysaving tackle by Evans which jolted his AC joint.

In the fourth quarter-final, which was injury free, Waikato beat Southland 24-12.

Semi-finals draw:

Auckland v Wellington, in Auckland, on Friday

Waikato v Otago, in Hamilton, on Saturday.

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