All Blacks' Braid may face Wallabies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks' Braid may face Wallabies

By Daniel Gilhooly 13/07/2008 01:45:44 PM Comments (0)

The All Blacks are likely to bring specialist openside flanker Daniel Braid into their squad for the Tri-Nations rugby test against Australia in Sydney in two weeks.

With the jury still out on the success of their left-right flanker method adopted this year after Saturday night's 30-28 loss to South Africa in Dunedin, New Zealand appear set to return to a more traditional openside-blindside combination when they face the Wallabies on July 26.

Captain Richie McCaw is still recovering from an ankle injury so Blues speedster Braid shapes as the logical answer, having trained with the squad early this week after recovering from a calf injury.

If he can prove his form at club level and for Auckland in their Ranfurly Shield defence against Poverty Bay on Tuesday, Braid may well leapfrog Chris Masoe, who was called in as a replacement for McCaw two weeks ago but hasn't been used.

"We didn't bring Dan Braid here for nothing," assistant coach Steve Hansen said.

It is unlikely any other player will be added, Hansen said, with injuries sustained by lock Ali Williams and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu during Saturday night's loss to South Africa deemed relatively minor.

Williams' head knock that forced him from the field after half an hour had been examined by medical staff on Sunday morning. He will undergo routine psychometric testing this week, while resting the ankle injury that also flared up.

"Doc's (Deb Robinson) pretty happy with where he's at and how he's come through the night," Hansen said.

"Obviously his ankle is a bit sore and a week off won't do him any harm there either. We're expecting him to be right in a fortnight's time."

Sivivatu had a buttock strain that won't impact on his selection hopes for Sydney.

Hansen said McCaw was making good progress but there was no chance of him returning ahead of the earmarked test against South Africa in Cape Town in just over a month.

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