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The All Blacks suffered what could be a significant blow ahead of the World Cup after second row Brodie Retallick suffered a dislocated shoulder against South Africa.
The influential lock left the field in agony just after the hour mark following a clear out at a ruck in New Zealand’s 16-16 draw with South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.
The 28-year-old was taken to hospital where the nature of his injury was later confirmed.
There was no immediate timeline set for his return which cast doubt on his participation in Japan where the All Blacks will be looking to win the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time in succession.
However, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen later said that there was still a possibility that Retallick could make the tournament which starts on September 20th.
New Zealand’s campaign commences a day later against South Africa in Yokohama in a game that will probably decide the pool winners and, should they make it, who Ireland will play in the quarter-finals.
"We have a reasonably positive update,” Hansen said.
"He's only dislocated it, which means that there's a good possibility he could make the World Cup.
“There's no timeline yet about when he's going to return to play, hopefully he'll be available to go to the World Cup.”
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