Jerome Kaino has a minor hamstring injury that has ruled him out of the All Blacks World Cup pool match against Namibia.

Kaino, who was replaced after 65 minutes in the All Blacks 26-16 win over Argentina at Wembley Stadium, is likely to have been on the reserves bench at London's Olympic Stadium on Friday morning NZT, and could have played if it was an important match, coach Steve Hansen said.

Hansen's priority for the game - an almost guaranteed five points for the defending champion All Blacks given the gulf between the No1 side in the world and the 20th-ranked Namibians, most of whom are amateur players - is for all 23 men to come through the exercise unaffected by injury.

Read more:
New captain for Namibia clash
Captain Cane: Following in McCaw's footsteps
Namibia name experienced side

Advertisement

Only three players who started against the Pumas have retained their places - lock Sam Whitelock and wings Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder. Given the All Blacks have only three locks here, an injury to Whitelock or second-row partner Luke Romano would be a serious problem, as would any issue regarding Savea, the bullocking left wing who is poised to play an important role for his team in the knockout stages.

Both Kieran Read and Richie McCaw have been named on the reserves bench, with Read likely to go into lock in case of injury there.

"I don't want any injuries, that would be a good start, touch wood," Hansen, revealing his superstitious side, said of his aims for the match. "We want to get out there and execute our game and rehearse against some opposition.

"While we don't know a lot about Namibia because we've never played against them before, we do know they would have taken a lot of heart out of what happened in Brighton [where Japan beat South Africa].

"They'll be very pumped for the game. Most teams get up to play the All Blacks and I don't see them being any different. They'll provide some stern opposition and they'll win some moments of the game, I'm sure. How we cope with those moments will be interesting to see."

Beauden Barrett, who will start in the No10 jersey and is likely to share the goalkicking duties with fullback Colin Slade, said he and his teammates were taking nothing for granted when asked if Savea and Milner-Skudder were looking to improve their try statistics against the Namibians.

"I'm sure they'd love to cross the line at any time," Barrett said. "If we play well those opportunities may present themselves like they did at the weekend. That's what we have to focus on - our jobs."

By Patrick McKendry in London

Advertisement