Woodcock blow for All Blacks

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iol spt aug8 Woodcock Getty Images All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the international season. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Wellington – All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the international season, coach Steve Hansen said Friday.

Hansen said the 110-Test veteran would be sidelined for five months, while lock Dominic Bird was out for three weeks with a toe strain.

Hansen said Woodcock's injury would allow the 33-year-old to have a proper rest and be fresh for next year's World Cup defence in England.

“Every dark cloud has a bit of silver lining and for him it will be an opportunity to do something he hasn't done for 12 seasons, and that's get a good off-season,” he told reporters.

“That will be important because it will freshen him up and he'll be hungry to get into it next year.”

Hansen said the uncapped Joe Moody had been called in to replace Woodcock, although Wyatt Crockett is set to start as loosehead prop in New Zealand's opening Rugby Championship match against Australia in Sydney on August 16.

He said Jeremy Thrush would replace Bird in the Championship squad. – Sapa-AFP


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