Hooker Keven Mealamu is not likely to be fit in time for New Zealand's Tri Nations match against Australia, after injuring himself in the All Blacks' 31-19 defeat to South Africa on Saturday. The 30-year-old player has been instructed to undergo further scans on his arrival home, after damaging the pectoral muscle in his chest. "Until we get the results for that we are not going to know how severe it is but it looks like he won't be available for a couple of weeks," Steve Hansen, the All Blacks assistant coach, said yesterday.
"We don't know, it could be longer than that. He's got limited movement in his pec." Mealamu's injury is a blow to the All Blacks team, who - after starting their Tri Nations campaign last month with a narrow win over Australia at home - suffered at the hands of the mighty South Africans. Their hope of staying in the three-way contest could rest on their next encounter with Australia in Sydney on August 22, which is already shaping up as a must-win game for them.
"It's a challenge because we'll be relying on other teams to produce the right results," head coach Graham Henry had said earlier. "But we've got three games to go and we've just got to be positive. "We've got a game in Sydney in three weeks' time and then we've got two home Test matches so the only thing we can do is look forward and look to improve." So sharp has been the criticism from the supporters, that the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tried to draw the audience's focus to the bigger picture.
"As long as they win in 2011 at the Rugby World Cup, that will probably work for me," Key said on radio. @Email:email@example.com