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Argentina 23:10 New Zealand

Rugby Championship: Steve Hansen confident All Blacks will have captain McCaw fit

Last Updated: 09/08/13 4:34pm

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is confident captain Richie McCaw will feature in the Rugby Championship despite only managing to play 40 minutes in a practice match.

McCaw, who recently returned from a sabbatical, was expected to play the full game against the Canterbury and Wellington provincial sides but appeared to lack fitness at the Hutt Recreation Ground.

The 32-year-old forward left the field at half-time and did not return following the interval as the All Blacks made final preparations ahead of their opening Rugby Championship match against Australia on August 17.

McCaw looked short of pace during his spell on the field and it was left to hookers Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore to deputise in the second period in the warm-up games.

"Fitness wise there was a bit of running there," McCaw said. "It certainly burned a bit, but not too bad."

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Hopeful

"It was nice to get through 40 and hopefully with a week's training, I'll be good to go."

However, Hansen admitted the plan had always been for McCaw to just play the first half of the match for the All Blacks side, which apart from the injured Ma'a Nonu and the rested Liam Messam appeared to be a first-choice XV.

"Yeah, we just wanted to get a good 40 out of him and energy wise he felt he could have gone on, but we felt that 40 was enough," Hansen said.

"That's exactly what we came for. We wanted a game that ebbed and flowed with intensity and physicality.

"We have had guys out for three or four weeks so we weren't too bothered by structures or skill execution it was more about getting out there and having 80 minutes on the track."

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