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Carter not risked after back injury

Dan Carter has been withdrawn from the New Zealand team to play Japan on Friday after failing to recover from a lower back injury.

Carter suffered a stiff back in New Zealand's opening Rugby World Cup victory over Tonga and the All Blacks have decided not to risk him ahead of their crunch Pool A showdown with France.

The key thing is that Daniel had been recovering well from a stiff lower back," All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said. "However, he pulled up sore at an indoor training session this morning so we have made the decision not to risk him for the Japan match and we will aim to have him back fully training next week in preparation for the France Test."

Carter has been replaced in the starting line-up by Colin Slade, with Jimmy Cowan promoted to the bench and Piri Weepu providing cover at fly-half.

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