The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will become the first All Black to play 100 Test matches when he leads the team in its Pool A game against Japan in two days.
McCaw, the only three-time International Player of the Year, becomes the 19th person in the sport’s history to get to 100 Test appearances. Mils Muliaina was recalled at full-back to face Japan and will play his 99th Test for New Zealand.
Muliaina’s inclusion was one of eight changes to the team that opened the World Cup last week by beating Tonga 41-10. Andy Ellis, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane also join the backline, while Colin Slade will replace Dan Carter at fly-half after the All Blacks’ playmaker failed to recover from a back injury sustained in the Tonga match. Adam Thomson, Keven Mealamu and Sam Whitelock come into the forward pack.
NEW ZEALAND: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (Captain), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Carter Not Risked
Carter, Test rugby’s leading points scorer, was withdrawn after pulling up sore at an indoor training session today, All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said in a team statement. New Zealand faces France on Sept. 24 before playing Canada on Oct. 2
“We have made the decision not to risk him for the Japan match and we will aim to have him back fully training next week in preparation for the France Test,” Robinson said.
Scrum-half Piri Weepu will provide backup to Slade, while Jimmy Cowan was called onto the replacements’ bench to provide cover for starting No. 9 Ellis.
Sheridan Ruled Out
England prop Andrew Sheridan was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after injuring his left shoulder injury in his team’s opening match against Argentina.
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound (1.96 meter, 124 kg) Sheridan, who had just come back after reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder, will return home for treatment, subject to approval from the tournament’s medical director, England’s Rugby Football Union said in a statement. Under World Cup rules, Sheridan will not be allowed to rejoin the squad in New Zealand.
“We brought five props so we have options there and we can bring another player out but we will decide what to do about that in due course,” England team manager Martin Johnson said.
Habana Misses Fiji
Springboks wing Bryan Habana won’t be considered for selection for the Pool D match against Fiji in Wellington because of a knee injury, the South African Rugby Union said.
“Bryan could play if needed but we don’t want to take chances,” Springboks coach Peter de Villiers said in a statement. “We have a few weeks to go in the tournament and we don’t want to take risks and we have some other great wings in the squad. This is their opportunity, I hope they take it.”
Lock Victor Matfield and center Jean de Villiers have already been ruled out of the Springboks’ second group match.
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