It’s almost too much to hope for as a Wallabies supporter… Yesterday, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw sat out a large part of the team’s training while Crusaders flanker Matt Todd jumped in, despite not being part of the All Blacks 30-man squad. Naturally, speculation that McCaw was out ran wild.
Unfortunately, Assistant coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that McCaw’s foot – which has been troubling him all season – is fine, and the use of Todd during training was simply a way of improving the strength of the All Blacks training.
As reported in the SMH:
“Matt Todd’s part of our wider training group and trained with us in Christchurch as did other players down there,” Hansen said on Thursday. “Matt Todd’s in Auckland (and) it just made common sense to have him here.
“Now, that doesn’t mean to say that Richie’s foot is worse than it was. It doesn’t mean that Richie’s not playing on (Sunday). It means Matt Todd was in Auckland and we wanted to use him for training as opposition. So hopefully, that puts that away and we can talk about the game.”
The semi final on Sunday is looking to be a cracker, with the battle between fly-halfs and open side flankers due to be spectacular. David Pocock was one of the only Australians to really stand up in the quarter final against South Africa last weekend, and the All Blacks are already putting pressure on him as a key fous for their game. With McCaw potentially going into the match with an injury, it will be telling to see whether Pocock can further stamp his authority as one of the best open sides in the world.
Meanwhile, the battle at fly-half will be equally contentious, with first choice Dan Carter out for the All Blacks, and Quade Cooper coming off one of his worst matches ever.
Whether the All Blacks can survive without Carter against their trans-Tasman rivals, or whether Cooper can bounce back from his horrendous performance last week, could well decide which country will be playing in the final.