sport

Woodcock likely to miss out

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has conceded Tony Woodcock will most likely need shoulder surgery and miss the Rugby Championship.

Prop Woodcock, who has 110 All Blacks caps, was named in their squad for the four-team tournament with the caveat he might miss the start of it depending on the extent of his injury.

But, after he was a spectator at their training session in Auckland, Hansen indicated there was an increasing likelihood he would need an operation which would bring a premature end to his season.

Uncapped Joe Moody has been added to Hansen's squad as cover for Woodcock, though he will find himself behind the more experienced Wyatt Crockett and Ben Franks in the pecking order at loosehead.

"His shoulder is pretty loose, so we'll see what happens over the next seven days then make a decision from there," Hansen said.

"There's no point mucking around - if it's not going to be right we might as well get it operated on. He'll get his first pre-season of note for 12 years, so there are some positives in it."

Hansen also admitted it might be beneficial to Woodcock's hopes of being a major contributor during the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, where the All Blacks will be defending champions.

"Whenever you get something that's disappointing, you've got to look for the positives," Hansen added.

"The positives are he'll get six or seven months before he has to play again. When you've been on the circuit as long as he has, that's valuable time.

"We'll fresh him up and get a revitalised Tony Woodcock."

Watch New Zealand open their Rugby Championship campaign against Australia live on Sky Sports 4 on August 16 - coverage starts at 10:30am.