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Crocked Carter calls on Kiwi fans to rally behind his side

ALL Black icon Dan Carter has urged New Zealand fans to move on from his World Cup-ending injury and throw their full support behind the All Blacks.

Carter, who has amassed a record 1,250 points during his 85-cap Test career, had been due to captain the All Blacks in their final Pool A fixture against Canada, which they won 79-15, while regular skipper Richie McCaw rested a foot injury.

But the 29-year-old tore a groin tendon in kicking practice during Saturday's eve-of-match training session, ending his participation in the tournament.

"I encourage everyone to move on," said Carter, who has been replaced in the squad by Manawatu back Aaron Cruden.

"I'm pretty disappointed, but I'm now here to help the team and I think everyone should move on too."

Colin Slade replaced Carter in the team against Canada and head coach Graham Henry has backed the replacement to step up.

Carter also believes the All Blacks can cope with his absence, beginning with the quarter-final against Argentina on Sunday.

Carter added: "The team are pretty focused. If we lose any player, we've got enough depth and we've got such a good squad that players come in and fill their roles."



Byrne believes Wales can go all the way to Cup glory

Lee Byrne believes Wales are capable of winning the World Cup.

Byrne and company booked a quarter-final appointment with Ireland in Wellington next Saturday after they crushed Pool D opponents Fiji 66-0 at Waikato Stadium.

Wales' best World Cup performance was a third-place finish at the inaugural competition in New Zealand 24 years ago, but full-back Byrne is determined to go further than those 1987 exploits.

Asked if Wales could win the tournament, he said: "I would probably say so. We know Ireland played very well to beat Australia, and we will give them respect, but we will give it our best to try to go as far or further than any Welsh team has done in the World Cup."

"The hard work has been done. We're in great shape for the knockout rounds after coming through a difficult pool."

"The boys are really enjoying being at the tournament and we have got high ambitions. We are confident about our prospects against Ireland. It's just a case of seeing what happens on the day."



Lievremont reveals major divisions in French squad

England's quarter-final opponents France appear to be on the brink of civil war - a crisis which puts the disciplinary challenges facing Martin Johnson into stark perspective.

France coach Marc Lievremont conceded after the "shame" of Saturday's shock 19-14 defeat to Tonga that his squad are not united in pursuit of a first Rugby World Cup title.

Lievremont compared his squad to the French football team, who refused to train at last year's World Cup following a row between then-coach Raymond Domenech and striker Nicolas Anelka.

"I thought I had experienced everything in terms of shame," said Lievremont, as he reflected on the Tonga game. "(Afterwards) I would have liked for us to gather around a few drinks to talk, to share thoughts -- and I was disappointed. We all split in different directions.

"French rugby and players laughed at the French football players last year. But in some respect, we didn't get off the bus either."



Armitage banned for match

Delon Armitage has been banned from England's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France.

The England wing received a one-match ban at a disciplinary hearing in Auckland after pleading guilty to a "dangerous high tackle" on Scotland's Chris Paterson.

Independent judicial officer Bruce Squire QC halved Armitage's potential ban after taking into account a number of mitigating factors.

Armitage will be available to play in the semi-finals, should England beat France in Auckland next Saturday.