Richie McCaw says Aaron Cruden can step up for All Blacks in place of the injured Dan Carter against Wales
Richie McCaw believes Aaron Cruden can step up for New Zealand after Dan Carter was ruled out through injury
Last Updated: 24/11/12 12:33pm
Carter, who has won 93 caps and is the All Blacks' all-time record points scorer, suffered a leg injury during training at the University of Glamorgan on Thursday and was declared unfit after undergoing a scan at a Cardiff hospital.
With Carter's place in the starting XV going to the 2011 World Cup final fly-half Aaron Cruden, McCaw has every confidence in the 23-year-old who has yet to taste defeat for New Zealand.
"It is something you can't control," McCaw said.
"It is disappointing for Dan, but the next guy will come in and we will try to give him some good ball to operate with.
"Aaron has played a few Tests, some pretty big games.
"Dan is a pretty good footballer, 90-something Tests. He is hard to replace, but we've got to get on and have belief in the next guys."
Victory for New Zealand in Cardiff would be their 25th in a row at Wales' expense and leave them one more win or a draw, against England at Twickenham next Saturday, to ensure an unbeaten 2012.
"The big motivation is backing up good performances," McCaw added. "This group of players want to perform, take a step up from the last couple of weeks.
"We have done a lot of good things this year, but we haven't reached our full potential yet."
While New Zealand have already breezed past Scotland and Italy this month, Wales were left reeling by home losses to Argentina and Samoa under interim coach Rob Howley.
"We are expecting a Welsh team to come out and front-up," McCaw said. "We certainly respect the way they go about things.
"Wales have played a lot of Tests. Give them a bit of space and time and they are good players."