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MacDonald puts a strain on All Blacks

The All Blacks were handed an injury scare on Thursday with the news that full back Leon MacDonald has suffered a groin strain.

The injury occurred early in the All Blacks training session at Scotch College and adds to a minor injury crisis with both wing Sitiveni Sivivatu and centre Isaia Toeava already ruled out of the Bledisloe Cup clash with injuries suffered against South Africa.

Added to that both Conrad Smith (hamstrung) and Doug Howlett (maternity leave) are also missing and the All Blacks find themselves having to reshuffle their back line somewhat.

If the injury to MacDonald proves to be serious enough for him to miss the clash with Australia then Nick Evans may be promoted from the replacements bench into the fifteen shirt. The other option is for Mils Muliaina to move back to fifteen, Luke McAlister to shift across to outside centre and Aaron Mauger to come back into the side in his customary twelve shirt.

Which ever combination Graham Henry opts for, if indeed he needs to change, it will hardly weaken the All Blacks starting line-up. The problem will come on the replacements bench where scrum-half Brenodon Leonard is the only fit back not in the original match day squad and in Melbourne.

Extra cover may have to be flown in from New Zealand and at such late notice Wellington’s Ma’a Nonu is the obvious choice as he has been with the All Blacks already this year.
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