Planet Rugby

NZ coaches pleased with squad depth

19th August 2013 13:21

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Steve Hansen All Blacks coach 2013

Managing his squad: Steve Hansen

New Zealand's dominant 47-29 win in Sydney on Saturday didn't come without a cost, with a number of players picking up niggles. As a result, four players have been called into the squad, but it is not a concern according to assistant coach Ian Foster.

The All Blacks managed to win the 2011 World Cup even with three of their fly-halves succumbing to injury. Success in the tournament, even in the face of adversity, has left the coaching staff confident that their squad has enough depth to produce the goods.

Tom Taylor and Colin Slade were called in as cover for Beauden Barrett, who sustained a calf injury, and his fellow fly-half Aaron Cruden, who is nursing a sore knee. Dan Carter remains in doubt due to a hamstring complaint.

"We are happy with what we've got and we've been here before," said Ian Foster.

"Quite honestly, whilst it's disappointing for the guys that have got niggles, it's a great opportunity for the other two and it's going to give us a good chance to get a read on them this week."

Injuries have also struck the forwards, with Liam Messam confirmed to miss Saturday's return clash with Australia and Luke Romano a doubt after suffering a groin injury.

Loose forwards Luke Whitelock and Brad Shields were called into the squad as cover for the pair, but Steven Luatua is likely to retain his place on the side of the scrum after impressing coach Steve Hansen during his first start.

"It's one thing coming on and having a cameo when the Test match is all over," Hansen said of the 22-year-old Luatua.

"But to get chucked in the deep end like that, you hope you get what we got and he'll get a lot of confidence out of tonight and there's a lot more in him."

"And that's the job of the coaching staff, to help him become an even better player," explained Hansen.

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