New Zealand tour
Woodcock under injury cloud
November 16, 2008
Rory Best of Ireland battles with Tony Woodcock of New Zealand for possesion in a lineout during the Guinness series match between Ireland and New Zealand at Croke Park on November 15, 2008 in Dublin Ireland.
Woodcock competes for the ball with Ireland's Rory Best at Croke Park last night © Getty Images

All Blacks management are waiting to see how loosehead prop Tony Woodcock reacts to a lower back injury sustained during the team's 22-3 win over Ireland at Croke Park.

Woodcock was in distress when he was forced from the field in the 65th minute. Head coach Graham Henry said it was too early to gauge the severity of the injury but described the team's medical staff and Woodcock as "reasonably positive".

"It's to early to make a call on those kind of things," Henry said, adding Woodcock would be assessed again tomorrow before the team head to Limerick for the match against Munster on Tursday. Woodcock would not have been involved in that game regardless of the injury but, if fit, he is an automatic selection for the remaining tests against Wales in Cardiff next weekend and against England at Twickenham on November 29.

New Zealand's scrummaging power has already been compromised by hooker Andrew Hore's tour-ending injury against the Wallabies in Hong Kong on November 1. Woodcock's 47th test was not a personally memorable one considering he was sinbinned in the 42nd minute for punching, an offence detected by South African touch judge Cobus Wessels.

Meanwhile, centre Conrad Smith aggravated a long-term groin problem when kicking the ball during the second half although his injury is not considered serious.


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