Skipper’s injury is not serious, says ABs coach

A THIGH injury has ruled All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw out of his team's final World Cup pool match against Tonga in Newcastle tomorrow morning.

The injury isn't serious and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said his captain could have played.

"If we were playing a final he'd be fine, but we're just not prepared to take any risks with anyone who's not 100%," he said.

"He can have a breather and it gives Liam (Messam) an opportunity to come off the bench and get some footy and Sam (Cane) can get a start."

No.8 Kieran Read will captain the team.

Messam, a late withdrawal from the Namibia match due to a calf strain, gets his first opportunity for game time at the tournament. Centre Ma'a Nonu (pictured) will play his 100th Test.

New Zealand will play the loser of the France v Ireland clash in the quarter-finals.