New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

All Blacks rocked by second row crisis

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New Zealand’s historic victory over France on Saturday was marred by serious injuries to second row pair Ali Williams and Keith Robinson.

Going into the game New Zealand were level with England’s record for most consecutive home victories, 22, and with a 61-10 victory over France, the biggest losing margin ever for France, they moved onto 23 wins.

However the records will count for little as firstly Keith Robinson pulled out of the starting side during the warm up with a pulled hamstring, and then Ali Williams was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.

Robinson who has been plagued by injury over the past two years missed his chance to impress the All Black selectors with the World Cup looking large. It is a major blow for Robinson, who had a chance to impress with James Ryan already ruled out of the World Cup.

To make matters worse Ali Williams was led from the field in the first half with blood pouring from his mouth after a huge collision with French number eight Sebastian Chabal left him groggy. He was then taken to hospital at half time with what Graham Henry feared as a broken jaw.

Speaking after the match Graham Henry expressed his concerns over the double blow.

“The injuries are a major concern for us,” said Henry.

“It looks like we will be without both Keith and Ali for the Tri Nations now.
However it gives us a chance to test the depth of locks in the country.”

With the Junior All Blacks currently playing in the Pacific Nations Cup it is expected that there will be a promotion from their ranks to the senior side, although Henry was quick to say it was as of yet too early to make a decision.

“As of yet it is too soon to make a decision over a replacement but we will sit down and talk about it over the coming days and resolve the situation as soon as possible,” Henry said.

The double injury did provide one shed of light for New Zealand, first half replacement Troy Flavell coming on to perform superbly. Flavell, originally a traveling reserve, was called onto the bench when Robinson dropped out and then came on when Williams left the fray.

“He got better as the game went on and turned in a positive game,” he said.

 

365 Digital

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