All Blacks chief playmaker Beauden Barrett has revealed he is dealing with a minor leg injury.
The first-five-turned-fullback has been outstanding in Japan, starring in wins over South Africa and Canada, before resting for last Sunday's demolition of Namibia.
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The 28-year-old is a likely starter for New Zealand's final Rugby World Cup pool game against Italy on Saturday afternoon, but he let the cat out of the bag to media on Monday.
Barrett told NZME he hadn't been 100 percent fit since the team arrived in Japan.
"Mentally, I'm feeling great," Barrett said. "Physically, not quite there, but I've been working hard on getting my body right and to where I'd like it to be.
"I've been battling with a lower leg issue, a bit of a niggle, for a month now. It's been a frustration, but it's starting to feel really good."
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The new Blues recruit is confident he and the All Blacks medical team can manage the injury through to the end of the New Zealand campaign.
Barrett told NZME that while his inability to train or play at full speed was frustrating, the fact management hadn't told him to rest meant the injury was nothing more than a niggle.
"I want to keep it pretty general at this point. I don't want to make it an excuse.
"I'm quite positive about it, but it's been frustrating at times, where I'd like to open up and it's been hindering that.
"Today, it's been great and it's trusting the medical team are doing a great job.
"I'm sure if they didn't think it was right, they wouldn't have me out there," he told NZME.
The All Blacks play Italy on Saturday, before a likely quarter-final in Tokyo on October 19.
Join Newshub for live updates of the All Blacks v Italy from 5:45pm Saturday.