Injured Carter and McCaw revive memories of '07 loss.

Just when it all seemed to be going perfectly, New Zealand caught a bad case of the World Cup jitters last night after All Blacks Dan Carter and Richie McCaw were declared injured.

Yesterday afternoon, the All Blacks' star players withdrew from today's Pool A match against Canada - with Carter's future in the tournament reportedly in doubt.

The play-maker strained his groin during a routine goalkicking practice just a few hours after he was named to replace McCaw as captain in what would have been his first game in charge.

McCaw hit the sick bay due to a troublesome pin in his foot, which had been inserted to assist his recovery from a stress fracture.


McCaw said he was confident he would be ready to play next week.

The sight of Carter writhing on the ground revived memories of the horrors of 2007, when he was forced out during the quarter-final loss to France.

Physiotherapy expert, AUT University's associate professor Duncan Reid, said even if the strain was relatively minor, Carter would still be in doubt for next week's quarter-final.

"But if it's a severe grade-three strain, that can be a three to six week [recovery time]."

A sparse, five paragraph release from the New Zealand Rugby Union masked the anxiety that the injury will raise among fans.

A spokesman stated that Carter was being assessed last night and an update would be available today.

"No further updates will be given at this time."

The loss of both players has long been presaged as a worst case scenario for the All Blacks, with inexperienced backup first-five Colin Slade struggling for form.

Andrew Hore will captain the All Blacks for the first time.