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All Blacks centre David Havili to miss Rugby Championship

By AAP
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

New Zealand centre David Havili is expected to be sidelined for the entire Rugby Championship after suffering a serious hamstring injury in Super Rugby Pacific.

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Havili limped off in the Crusaders’ 42-18 home win over the NSW Waratahs last weekend and will likely need two months to recover, his club said.

The All Blacks start their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on July 8 before hosting South Africa the following week.

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They play Australia at the MCG on July 29.

Havili’s Crusaders teammate Cullen Grace, a one-Test loose forward, has been ruled out of the rest of the Super Rugby season after suffering a dislocated knee-cap.

“Both are out for the Super campaign, unfortunately,” Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told New Zealand media on Thursday.

“Really disappointed for them. They’re such big contributors to our team and really important parts of it.”

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With one more regular-season round before the playoffs, the second-placed Crusaders have already lost All Blacks props Fletcher Newell, Joe Moody and George Bower, as well as winger Sevu Reece, for the rest of the campaign.

The defending champions play the Hurricanes away on Saturday, having already booked their place in the top four to secure home advantage in the quarter-finals.

The Crusaders are looking to stretch their Super Rugby dynasty to a seventh successive year under departing coach Robertson, who will take over the All Blacks after the World Cup in France.

Robertson’s eventual successor will face a challenge to regenerate the South Island side who stand to lose a number of champion players after the World Cup.

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Former captain and veteran All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock confirmed on Thursday a move to French club Pau where he will reunite with his younger brother and loose forward Luke.

All Blacks five-eighth Richie Mo’unga is also leaving the Crusaders and will play in Japan next season.

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