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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 08:00 UK

McCaw to miss most of Tri-Nations

Richie McCaw is helped off in Christchurch
McCaw had to be helped off

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is set to miss their first four Tri-Nations matches after suffering an ankle injury against England on Saturday.

The inspirational flanker was diagnosed with a high ankle ligament strain after limping off in the 27th minute.

He will be sidelined for at least six weeks, meaning he will Tests against South Africa (two) and Australia (two).

But lock Ali Williams, who suffered a sprained ankle against England, could be fit for their Tri-Nations opener.

New Zealand play the Springboks in Wellington on 5 July, and again the following Saturday in Dunedin.

They then face the Wallabies in Sydney on 26 July before hosting them the following week in Auckland.

McCaw was the only specialist open-side flanker in the All Blacks squad, and there was no immediate decision on a replacement.

New Zealand Maori open-side Daniel Braid, part of the wider All Blacks training squad, also has a leg injury.

But head coach Graham Henry could at least take heart from the form of star fly-half Daniel Carter, who scored 22 points for the second week running with another imperious display in the 44-12 victory.

"I think he's played pretty well, especially in these last two games," said Henry. "He's gone up a couple of notches from where he was in the Super 14 and recent internationals.

"I think he's enjoying his rugby and wants to express himself, he's obviously kicking beautifully and scoring the odd try. He ran the ship well, he's prepared to have a crack and he's opening defences."

We got better as the game went on but still have a lot to work on

Graham Henry
Henry said he was satisfied with the performance but admitted there needed to be improvements ahead of their Tri-Nations opener against world champions South Africa.

"We're reasonably happy, 44-12 is a good result against a good England team so we're pleased with that," he added.

"We got better as the game went on but still have a lot to work on. But we are scoring tries from set-piece which is very positive.

"The English had some opportunities which didn't go their way, they could have been a lot closer at half-time. I thought they played better than they did last week in patches."

see also
New Zealand 44-12 England
21 Jun 08 |  English
Matt Dawson's view
21 Jun 08 |  English
New Zealand v England photos
21 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 37-20 England
14 Jun 08 |  English
McCaw and Palmer set for reunion
11 Jun 08 |  English
New Zealand 21-11 Ireland
07 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union

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