New Zealand v Canada, Rugby World Cup, October 2
Carter blow for All Blacks
ESPNscrum Staff
October 1, 2011
A nation gasps as Dan Carter goes down during training with a groin injury, New Zealand training session, Wellington, New Zealand, October 1, 2011
Dan Carter is left in a crumpled heap after injuring his groin during the New Zealand Captain's Run © Getty Images

New Zealand's Rugby World Cup hopes have been dealt a potentially devastating blow with the news that fly-half Dan Carter will miss Sunday's clash with Canada due to a groin injury.

Just a few hours after captain Richie McCaw pulled out of the All Blacks' final Pool A fixture with Canada due to a foot injury, the influential Carter followed suit after pulling up during kicking practice at a training session Wellington.

Carter had been installed as captain in the absence of McCaw but the armband will now be passed on to Andrew Hore while Colin Slade will step into the fly-half berth. Piri Weepu will provide cover on the bench while Slade's promotion to the starting line-up creates space among the replacements for scrum-half Andy Ellis.

The All Blacks have confirmed that Carter's condition will be re-assessed on Saturday evening and that an update will be forthcoming on Sunday. There is, however, already serious concern that he could be unavailable for next weekend's quarter-finals.

McCaw's place in the side has been taken by Victor Vito after his long-standing foot complaint re-surfaced. "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."

New Zealand: Mils Muliaina; Israel Dagg, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Zac Guildford; Colin Slade, Jimmy Cowan; Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore (capt), Owen Franks; Samuel Whitelock, Ali Williams; Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, Kieran Read.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Brad Thorn, Anthony Boric, Andy Ellis, Piri Weepu, Isaia Toeava.

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