New Zealand Rugby
Boric realistic about task ahead
ESPNscrum Staff
August 24, 2011

Anthony Boric has his eyes set on the All Blacks second-row but admits he faces a huge challenge to secure a first-team spot.

Boric is one of four locks in the 30-strong New Zealand squad for the tournament, which opens with the All Blacks facing Tonga in Auckland on September 9. He will go into the event will minimal recent match action under his belt. His appearance for North Harbour against Wellington on Friday night will be his first game back since he picked up a foot injury as the Blues beat the Waratahs in a Super Rugby semi-final qualifier nine weeks ago.

"I guess I would be number four right now," he said of his place among an All Blacks locking contingent that also includes Brad Thorn, Ali Williams and Sam Whitelock. "I have to get back into some form and try and earn a spot in that team somehow."

Boric expected to get about 40 minutes against Wellington at North Harbour Stadium. As for other game time he might have before the World Cup, he was targeting possibly turning out for North Harbour, but that would depend on what the All Blacks coaching staff decided was best for him.

He said the injured foot was "pretty close" to 100%, with all the damaged ligaments having healed, and the main issue now was getting back to match fitness. Boric, 27, got the news on Sunday that he had made the cut for the World Cup. He was at a family dinner and missed coach Graham Henry's call from Johannesburg, but Henry left him a voicemail message of congratulations.

"I'm obviously very, very excited," he said. "It's been a frustrating couple of months being injured and not knowing if I was going to make it or not."

It will be Boric's first World Cup - the first of his 20 caps came against England in 2008 - and having the tournament in New Zealand made it extra special.

"It's a dream to play a World Cup in your back yard," he said. "All my family and friends are so happy about it and to play in front of them is something that's only going to come around once, so I'm pretty happy about it."

Boric had to keep news of his selection to himself until the public team announcement yesterday, and it proved a tricky assignment, especially when he had to do a media interview on Monday and was quizzed about his prospects of making the squad.

"That was pretty tough," he said. "I tried to keep a straight face. Apparently it looked like I gave it away a little bit. Hopefully I didn't."

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