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No Roger no worries for NZ: Whare

Chris Kennedy NRL.com Thu, Nov 28, 2013 - 11:17 AM

New Zealand star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is on track to recovery from injury in time for the World Cup final. Copyright: SWpix.com

New Zealand centre Dean Whare remains hopeful his outside winger, the in-form Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, will be fit for this Saturday's World Cup final – but says the side is adequately covered if he isn't.

Asked how the injury cloud over Tuivasa-Sheck, who has been cleared of a broken leg but remains in doubt for the decider, would affect his own preparation, Whare said the presence of reserve outside backs Josh Hoffman and Jason Nightingale as capable fill-ins would mean a smooth transition.

"Whoever's there to fill in, you've got Hoffy or Nightingale to slot in there and I've got good combinations with them," Whare said.

"Being with them for six weeks and pretty much living together, I think we've got a good combination, all the backs, we'll just wait and see and hopefully Roger comes right for the game."

The Australian camp have their own injury question marks, with injured fullback Billy Slater a chance of making a shock return for the final. The uncertainty over the opposing backline and a chance of facing off against rampaging fullback or centre Greg Inglis didn't faze Whare.

"[I'll] just prepare how I have been the whole tournament. You've got to expect, if [Inglis] gets the ball, just try and get up in his face and try and try and slow his momentum down," Whare said.

"They've got strike power all over the field, you can't just look out for him, you've got Slater out the back and you've got some good second rowers there."

Nevertheless, the challenge of facing off against Inglis is an exciting prospect for Whare.

"It's going to be a good challenge this week, he was one of my favourite players to watch when I was young so it's an honour to play against that fella," he said.

Whare also said his previous experience playing against Australia – he made his Test debut against the Aussies in 2012 in Townsville and lined up against them again in this year's Anzac Test – would boost his confidence.

"Playing that [2013 Anzac] Test, I think I had Hodges then and was playing the left side so it's a bit different coming on to the right side, I played there most of my juniors and the whole year," he said.

"Those two Tests against Aussie have definitely given me confidence for this weekend."