All Black prop a World Cup doubt

One of the cornerstones of the All Black pack could miss this year's World Cup. [more]

All Black prop a World Cup doubt

One of the cornerstones of the All Black pack could miss this year’s World Cup.

Loosehead prop Tony Woodcock is struggling with a foot injury that could see him ruled out of the global gathering in his homeland in September and October.

Woodcock has spent the last six weeks in a moon boot in an attempt to quicken his recovery from ligament damage but question marks still surround his fitness.

The Auckland Blues star will undergo a series of fitness tests in Wellington over the next fortnight having missed the last two months of the southern hemisphere season.

"I tried jogging a week ago and it was no good," Woodcock told New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times.

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Entering the World Cup without Woodcock would be a major blow for the world’s number one ranked team.

The 74-cap Test veteran is regarded by many as the globe’s premier loosehead and is an almost certain starter if fit.

Woodcock started all three Tests against the Lions six years ago and is now one of the most experienced players in Graham Henry’s squad.

But if he does sit out the global gathering, an All Black great believes Henry and his medical staff will only have themselves to blame.

"They had a choice whether to operate straight away or let it settle," said former kiwi front rower Craig Dowd.

"They now know they blew it. They should have operated because now it's fingers crossed it does settle.

"The worst case scenario is his World Cup dream is probably in jeopardy."

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