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McCaw to miss Japan clash

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been ruled out of his side's World Cup Pool A clash with Japan in Hamilton on Friday.

A minor calf strain means McCaw will now have to wait to become the first All Black to win 100 caps, with hooker Keven Mealamu appointed captain in the openside flanker's absence.

Full-back Mils Muliaina has also been withdrawn from the team with a tight hamstring, while Israel Dagg (right abdominal strain) is not available following medical assessment. New Zealand coach Graham Henry said: "It's disappointing to have the players unavailable, especially Richie and Mils who were both looking forward to playing against Japan."

He added: "But injuries are something that we all have to deal with and it's great that we have versatility in the squad so Isaia is able to slot in at full-back."

The news follows the withdrawal of fly-half Dan Carter (back) in a precautionary move, with the clash with France on September 24 in mind.

Isaia Toeava will now start at full-back, Adam Thomson shifts to openside flanker and Victor Vito comes off the bench to start at number eight, with lock Anthony Boric coming onto the bench.


From Belfast Telegraph