12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
All Black Andrew Mehrtens and Irish captain Keith Wood criticised the adidas balls used at Carisbrook last Saturday.
Craig Lawson, managing director of Adidas New Zealand, said his company took the players' concerns very seriously. "We want to ensure that everything specific is done to meet the players' requirements before the Auckland test"
The company is in the third year of its five-year, multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union. One of the requirements of the contract is to use the adidas ball in the NPC and in international matches played in New Zealand. The Gilbert ball is used in New Zealand-based Super 12 games. Players were happy with the white Spiral ball used in the NPC last year. The yellow Spiral ball was used in international games in New Zealand last year, but the new brand of the yellow Torpedo Adidas ball was used at Carisbrook.
Dawson said rugby balls were required to be pumped up to a pressure of between eight and 11 pounds per square inch. The four balls used in a big game were usually pumped up by the groundsman, using a pressure measure. The balls used in the test on Saturday had a pressure of 10lbs.
The pressure was checked by a sponsors' technician and representatives of both teams, usually the goal kickers, then checked the balls.
"I'm concerned about what I have heard," Lawson said. "The concerns were not conveyed to me."
He said the colour - white or yellow - made no difference to the nature of any ball. The New Zealand Herald