David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

All Whites: Tuiloma injury-free ahead of World Cup qualifier

All Whites midfielder Bill Tuiloma has sufficiently recovered from a recent calf injury and is ready for Saturday's World Cup qualifying match against New Caledonia in Auckland.

Tuiloma missed New Zealand's recent two-game tour of the United States after sustaining the injury while training with his French club side Marseille but is excited to be back on deck for the North Harbour Stadium clash.

"One of the muscles separated so I had to stand down and I told the gaffer and staff I couldn't make it because I didn't have enough time to recover," said Tuiloma.

"But I've played two games before I came here, so I'm feeling good.

"I'm still going to the physios to get my calf right and I should be good."

The All Whites are preparing for a stern test against New Caledonia and push their cause for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Coach Anthony Hudson's side has worked hard since arriving in camp on Monday and are confident of claiming first blood ahead of the return clash in New Caledonia on Wednesday.

"For sure," said Tuiloma.

"We've prepared really good in the past few days.

"The boys are focused and on-point. We've been listening to the coach, been watching the tactics, so I think we're ready to do the job.

"They're going to be a tough team to break down but if we stick to tactics, we'll get the job done.

The former national under-20s captain has faced an uphill battle to secure recent game time at Marseille with a string of minor injuries limiting his chances to push for a first team spot.

Tuiloma says the quality and depth of playing talent in France means any time out of the game is costly.

"European football is probably the best in the world but it is difficult to try and crack the first team because once you're injured, they just bring in another player that can do the job.

"You just have to stay fit, stay focused and be the best in training, and then you'll probably get the call-up from the coach or you'll be on the bench.

"That's how it is."

The Christchurch-born product is relishing the chance to return Down Under and eager to impress in a rare home appearance in front of family and friends.

"It's good to be back in the country.

"It means everything, family and friends, playing in front of them is going to be awesome. Hopefully we get a good crowd come out and we do the job."

- NZ Herald

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