All Blacks vice-captain Richie McCaw has been declared unavailable for the remainder of the Tri-Nations rugby tournament as he continues to recover from a head injury suffered in the opening test of the season against England in Dunedin

McCaw, who suffered the injury six weeks ago, withdrew from the squad today following discussion with All Blacks coaching and medical staff.

This would allow him to focus on making a full recovery from injury, and to commence a fitness programme.


"This is the best decision both for myself and the All Blacks," McCaw said.

"I am making progress on recovering from the symptoms of the head injury, but there is the added concern of not being match fit."

McCaw will likely remain on the sidelines for the next month while he focuses on recovery and conditioning.

Team doctor Graham Paterson said McCaw was continuing to make steady progress on overcoming the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome brought on by his injury.

Coach Graham Henry said it had been a difficult and frustrating period for McCaw.

"I have been extremely impressed with the way Richie has conducted himself and responded to this challenge, and how he has continued to contribute to the team."

Flanker Craig Newby has been called up to rejoin the All Blacks squad when they assemble in Auckland on Sunday to prepare for their next match against Australia in Sydney on August 7.