AllBlacks lucky despite Woodcock injury cloud

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James Mortimer     21 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Wallabies captain David Pocock has been ruled out of the tournament, having surgery to correct a knee injury, meaning that Reds halfback Will Genia will lead the side.

In South Africa, arguably the world's best hooker in Bismarck du Plessis has been ruled out, resulting in a call up for fellow Shark Craig Burden.

Woodcock meanwhile is the only concern over a fully fit All Blacks squad.

The 31-year-old has had a series of minor injuries over recent seasons, only just recovering in time to feature during the Rugby World Cup, while his appearances with the Blues were curtailed, especially sitting out the beginning of the season.

Yet when he has suited up he has proved time and time again why Sir Graham Henry and current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen regard the 87-test veteran, the most capped prop in a Black jersey, as the best number one in New Zealand.

"He has sore ribs and we won't know until tomorrow when he trains, so we'll make a decision then," Hansen said.

The All Blacks coach said if Woodcock did not recover they would use specialist cover, indicating that Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett could start.