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McKenzie downplays Carter injury

Thursday, August 07, 2014

ORANGE, NSW - Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie says the All Blacks' "embarrassment of riches" at flyhalf will mitigate the loss of superstar No.10 Dan Carter.

Carter on Tuesday was ruled out of the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in Sydney on August 16 after scans picked up a crack in his upper fibula.

The champion flyhalf will likely to miss the first four weeks of the Rugby Championship, but according to McKenzie, it won't change the Wallabies' preparations one iota.

"It hasn't changed our mind-set, they've got (Beauden) Barrett, they've got (Aaron) Cruden, an embarrassment of riches," McKenzie said.

"That probably makes the selection situation easier for them, someone was going to miss out so that probably makes it a bit clearer in how they pick it.

"From our point of view, we're concentrating on ourselves and well play whoever they put out there."

Wallabies halfback Nic White agreed, saying All Blacks No.10s always grabbed their opportunities with both hands.

"It's just New Zealand, it doesn't seem to matter," White said.

"Barrett's been pretty unreal off the bench for them and Aaron Cruden has certainly filled Dan Carter's boots the last few times."

He added it might also assist in Cruden's preparations.

"If you're Aaron Cruden maybe it's a little bit more weight off your shoulders and you're a little bit more comfortable," he said.

The Wallabies meanwhile have injury concerns of their own, albeit in the front row, with prop Scott Sio (ankle) joining hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) on the injury list.

The duo have been sent home from the squad after receiving bad news from their respective scans in the past 24 hours.

That means third string hooker Nathan Charles will be relied upon to secure the set piece for the Wallabies, while Melbourne Rebels prop Laurie Weeks has been called into the squad for Sio.

"(Charles) is not the size of the other guys. But he is a very good set piece player," McKenzie said.

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