All Blacks first-five Daniel Carter is in doubt for the first Test against France at Eden Park this weekend.
Carter has a cracked bone in his right hand, an injury he sustained in the Crusaders’ Super Rugby win over the Waratahs in Christchurch last Friday night.
The 94-Test veteran suffered the injury during the first half, but played on to take a leading role in the hard-fought victory.
“He got stood on the other night and has a crack in the bone, so we;ll have to wait and see how that swelling goes, and make a decision late in the week,” said All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.
“It’s only a crack – it’s not completely broken and no displaced.”
Aaron Cruden looms as his likely replacement with a decision to be made on Thursday by All Blacks management.
“We’re very fortunate that we’ve got people like ‘Crudes’ and [Beauden] Barrett available,” said Hansen. “Everyone’s been doing the same thing, so they’ve all had the same time together – it won’t disrupt too much.”
Meanwhile, Crusaders reserve prop Joe Moody has been called into the squad to cover a series of worrying front-row niggles.
“They’ve all got hamstrings,” observed Hansen. “I don’t know why, but they have.
“On top of that, poor old Woody [Tony Woodcock] has an abcess in his nose, so he looks a bit like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer at the moment.
“We’ll make decision about how those guys are once we can get them on the track.”
Woodcock and Owen Franks were both sidelined over the weekend, Ben Afeaki carried a calf injury through the Chiefs’ by, while Wyatt Crocket got through just one half for the Crusaders.
Medical staff have also not cleared Piri Weepu for play yet – he will be monitored this week after being stretched off with concusion during the Blues’ loss to the Highlanders.