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Carter out, nervous wait for NZ

Photosport

Sportal.co.nz     29 Sep 2007     Photosport

Carter noticed a tightening in his calf during training on Thursday before the team left Aix en Provence for Toulouse.

Coach Graham Henry said on Friday that Carter was able to continue through training without further effect but when he woke on Friday morning it had stiffened up.

"We don't think it is particularly serious, we're hopeful he'll be right for next week and we will have a further update on Tuesday," Henry said.

"The medical staff have looked at it and we decided it was not the right thing for him to play tomorrow and we'll see how he responds over the next two or three days and we'll have a good idea where he is at on Tuesday."

As a result, Luke McAlister will move out of the reserves to first five-eighths, a position he has filled several times before for the All Blacks, while Doug Howlett will join the reserves.

Henry said Nick Evans had not been considered for the starting role at first five-eighths because he had already had time in the position during the Cup while McAlister had not.

McAlister will also start the side's goal-kicking duties in the game.

"There's two options and that's what this is about. It's about depth and if we get injuries to players we've got depth to back it up," Henry said.

Henry said the change would have no effect on the game plan for the Romanian contest.

Henry said the side had been fortunate that it had suffered no major injuries so far during the tournament and he was hopeful that Carter's would not prove to be a major concern.

Captain for the day Jerry Collins said that while the side would not have a player of Carter's class in action, the side lost nothing.

McAlister had his own style and could be just as effective. The side had a longer training run at the captain's run this morning to 'go over certain things', Collins said.

"We're looking forward to the game tomorrow," he said.

French journalists continued to probe the New Zealanders about their thoughts on facing France in Cardiff in the quarter-final next week.

Henry responded: "We don't make up the draw. We have tried to train according to the opposition we are playing against. We know we have a major challenge in the quarter-final and we will train accordingly.

"You have to adjust your training runs to the magnitude of the physical contest you have during that week," he said.