Rugby World Cup
New Zealand face nervous wait on Tony Woodcock injury
Tristan Barclay
October 10, 2015
New Zealand 47-9 Tonga (video available in Australia only)
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New Zealand face a nervous wait on the future of veteran prop Tony Woodcock, who limped off with what looked like a serious hamstring problem in their 47-9 thrashing of Tonga on Friday.

It was a black moment in an improved showing from the defending champions, who scored five of their seven tries in the final half-hour to end a stuttering four weeks with a perfect pool record - matching their achievement at the previous seven tournaments.

Underwhelming at times during wins over Argentina, Namibia and Georgia, they also struggled for rhythm early against the physical Pacific Islanders.

Tony Woodcock walks off the pitch after suffering an injury, New Zelaand v Tonga, Rugby World Cup, Newcastle, October 9, 2015
All Blacks may lose Tony Woodcock for the rest of the tournament © Getty Images

Woodcock was replaced by Wyatt Crockett just minutes into the second half and, speaking in his post-match press conference, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen admitted the injury could all but finish the 34-year-old's career.

"It could possibly be a long-term injury but we won't know until tomorrow," Hansen said. "If it's a bad tear it could be reasonably serious.

"He has played a lot of games for the All Blacks so it would be a sad way for him to finish. He's been a great All Black and he deserves to go out better than this."

New Zealand next face either Ireland or France in the quarterfinals, with the Northern Hemisphere sides meeting in Cardiff on Sunday to determine which one will finish top of Pool D.

The first half was especially physical, with the All Blacks able to cross the line just twice, through fullback Ben Smith and Woodcock, who scored his first Test try since the 2011 World Cup final.

Morath slotted two penalties but his team were unfortunate not to be closer after dominating possession for long periods and forcing the world champions into mistakes.

Read says the game ticked several boxes heading into a quarter-final in Cardiff on Saturday next week.

"We got a tough game, which is certainly what you need at this time of the tournament," he said.

"Obviously there are things we can work on. In the first half they put us under a lot of pressure."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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