New Zealand v Canada, Rugby World Cup, October 1
McCaw pulls out of Canucks clash
ESPNscrum Staff
October 1, 2011
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw receives his 100th cap from former New Zealand international Jock Hobbs, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, September 24, 2011
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw picked up his 100th cap in last weekend's win over France © Getty Images

New Zealand have been rocked by the withdrawal of captain Richie McCaw ahead of Sunday's Rugby World Cup clash with Canada.

The All Blacks flanker had been scheduled to make his 101st Test appearance in the Pool A game against the Canucks but has been forced to pull out because of a recurrence of a "foot problem" with his place being taken by Victor Vito.

"It's a bit frustrating," said the flanker. "I was pretty keen to play, it was important for me and the team. I got through training on Friday fine but I woke up a bit sore."

McCaw, who underwent pre-season surgery in February to insert a small screw into a bone in his foot that had a stress fracture and missed the first six weeks of the Super Rugby season, added, "It is something I have managed all through the year," he said. "It's been seven months since the operation. Every week, to some degree, it is a bit niggly. It's just one of those things. It probably needs a rest, to be fair.

"I wanted to get ready for next week - that is why this decision has been made. We've got knock-out games coming up and I didn't want to be niggly next week - I wanted to be ready to go. It was a bit frustrating but it is a niggle I have dealt with for a while. It's just not quite right."

"I don't want to belittle Canada because it is a hugely important game for the team. But we're in a tournament and we wanted to make sure the team is functioning well come quarter-final time. I could go out and play but its' the accumulative effect. For me to keep functioning well it was the right decision this weekend."

Assistant coach Wayne Smith said he had no doubts his captain would be back to lead the side later int he tournament. "The reality is that we've made the quarter-finals and Richie's going to lead us into the quarter-finals," Smith said. "He's going to be fine, he'll be right for the quarter-finals."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.