All Blacks: Henry happy with Slade effort

By Daniel Richardson

New Zealand's Colin Slade in as a replacement for the stricken Dan Carter. Photo / Paul Estcourt
New Zealand's Colin Slade in as a replacement for the stricken Dan Carter. Photo / Paul Estcourt

All Blacks coach Graham Henry professed himself happy with Colin Slade's performance during the victory over Canada, the first test for the player following Dan Carter's shock exit from the World Cup with a groin injury.

Slade played at first-five for 51 minutes before moving to the right wing to make way for Piri Weepu.

The Highlander began nervously, having an attempted clearance charged down which led to Canada opening the scoring with a penalty, but he soon made amends with a scorching break and wide pass to set up Zac Guildford for the first of his four tries.

His goalkicking wasn't as assured - Slade kicked only five from nine attempts before Weepu took over the duties with the tee.

Asked whether Slade was the man to direct the All Blacks ship for the rest of the tournament, Henry said: "Colin Slade's the boy and he played pretty well for a long period of the game today.

"He just needs more football. The more times we can get him out there the better he's going to be, I think.

We saw that Piri could play there as well and he was in the 10 position and played very well in the last 10 minutes of the game."

Slade limped off the field with 15 minutes to go - with flanker Victor Vito moving to the wing - but Henry said it was only a knock and nothing serious, although the All Blacks can't afford any more injuries in that position.

Manawatu's Aaron Cruden has been called in as Carter's replacement and will join the squad tomorrow. (monday).

Wing Israel Dagg, who moved to fullback after Weepu came on for Mils Muliaina, left the field with a knock to his quad muscle but Henry said that replacement was also precautionary.

- APNZ

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