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Wait for Weepu and Ranger

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Sportal.co.nz     14 Jul 2010     Getty Images

All Blacks coach Graham Henry delayed the naming of his side to give Jimmy Cowan (abdominal strain) and Joe Rokocoko (hamstring) a bit longer to shake off the injuries they suffered during the impressive 32-12 triumph against the Springboks at Eden Park last weekend.

"I think Jimmy Cowan's opportunity [to play] is probably better than Joe's at this point in time," Henry admitted on Tuesday. "But these things come right pretty quickly so we'll just have to wait and see."

Richard Kahui will definitely not be featuring and Henry revealed the 25-year-old back was facing the possibility of more shoulder surgery.

Kahui missed all of last year's internationals after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction and injury also hampered his Super 14 campaign this year with the Chiefs.

"The specialist he has to see he will see on Monday next week. By that stage some of the swelling will have gone down and he'll have more movement in his shoulder and they will be able to get the correct diagnosis," the All Blacks coach said.

"At this point in time it doesn't look good. Richard has had two shoulder reconstructions, which is six months out of the game, and the worry is that he might need another one but we won't know for definite until next Monday.

"It's a real pity because he was just hitting his straps again. As he said, he was getting his mojo back so it's a real pity for him."

Henry did not feel the injuries and the delay to the team naming would unduly affect the team's build-up for the Westpac Stadium showdown.

"There was always going to be a wee bit of a drop in intensity because we'd just played a Test match," explained Henry.

"Last week we hadn't played for a couple of weeks and we'd been together since the Thursday so it was an ideal situation.

"Our intensity today wasn't as high as it was last week but that would be impossible to simulate really. The attitude is good though and I'm pleased with what the guys did today."

Captain Richie McCaw was also confident the players were showing the right commitment in wanting to improve on their efforts of last week.

"If we are going to be consistent, regardless of what happens outside the team, we have our own standards and what you want to do and that's what drives you," the skipper said.

"You've got to command that from each other and not accept anything less than that. The senior boys have got to drive that and what I've seen this week is that there is a real desire that we don't take a step back and we front up and have the same intensity about how we want to play."

The All Blacks are certainly expecting the Springboks to front up this week after being comprehensively outplayed in Auckland.

Aside from two enforced changes – the result of Bakkies Botha's nine-week suspension and Jannie du Plessis' injured calf – Pieter de Villiers has kept his starting XV intact to give his players a shot at redemption.

The introduction of lock Danie Rossouw, who will play his 50th Test on Saturday, and veteran tighthead prop CJ van der Linde will not weaken the pack, according to McCaw.

"I don't think so. I don't think it's going to lessen things too much. What we've got to do is take them on like we did last week and prevent them from getting any good ball that they can use and put them under pressure," he said.

McCaw also felt that the more mobile All Blacks tight five could once again work to their advantage and create gaps in the Boks defence that could be exploited as it was last weekend in the four-tries-to-none rout.

"Making them make a lot of tackles and move around there's no doubt it's tougher," he said.

"Last week it was like that. We were going forward to a lot of stuff and they were going back and there were a few gaps because of that.

"Certainly if you can hold the ball for a while and you can move their big fellas around I think you get reward in the end as the game goes on."