All Blacks wing Sevu Reece won’t play again this year due to a serious knee injury.
Reece, who sustained the injury while being awkwardly cleaned out at a ruck by Blues centre Rieko Ioane a fortnight ago, will have surgery to repair his busted anterior cruciate ligament in the coming weeks.
Not only does it wipe Reece out for the rest of Super Rugby Pacific, All Blacks coach Ian Foster can scratch him from his list of potential players for the World Cup in France later this year.
“It’s a hard one, for him and the whole club because he is so important to us,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said on Wednesday.
“Really feel for him. He’s been incredible for us. A lot of hard work will get him back to where he was beforehand, a world-class wing.”
Reece was attempting to pilfer a ball at a ruck in the second half of the Crusaders’ win over the Blues at Eden Park, when he was bent in a clean out by fellow All Black Ioane.
The incident didn’t prompt match officials to look at it closer, but it’s understood Ioane apologised to Reece in the aftermath.
“There are clear protocols and follow-ups from the TMO, and they can look in retrospect from the match officer, and they found it was OK,” Robertson said.
“It wasn’t a nice incident, was it?”
Reece (46 tries) was on track to surpass Caleb Ralph (52) as the all-time leading try-scorer in Crusaders history this season.
The 26-year-old, who has scored 15 tries in 23 tests for the All Blacks, is contracted through next year.
Robertson also confirmed All Black and Crusaders loose forward Ethan Blackadder would be sidelined for six weeks with a calf tear.
Blackadder, one of 16 injured Crusaders, sustained the blow during the team’s bonus point win against the Brumbies last week.
Lock Sam Whitelock (broken hand) is on track to return after the team’s round eight bye.
Robertson will on Wednesday afternoon name his team to face the Reds in Brisbane on Friday night.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS