Crusaders captain Scott Barrett, who started at blindside flanker in the All Blacks’ loss to England during last year’s Rugby World Cup semi-final, has been ruled out of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.
The 26-year-old second-rower injured his foot in the Crusaders’ intra-squad match held last weekend and was unable to lead his side in their first match over the weekend with Codie Taylor instead handed the captain’s armband.
Coach Scott Robertson was less than confident when queried prior to the match against the Hurricanes whether Barrett would feature at all this season and the latest news out of the camp has confirmed that Barrett is to undergo surgery on his plantar fascia tendon.
“After consultation with a foot specialist, it has been determined that Scott will miss the remainder of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition to undergo surgery and allow sufficient time to recover. Exact return to play dates are uncertain at this stage,” the Crusaders announced on Wednesday.
38-year-old Alex Ainley has joined the Crusaders in Barrett’s place. The favourites to take out the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition still boast a competitive second-row unit with Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano both experienced All Blacks and Quinten Strange and Mitch Dunshea earmarked for big futures.
Taylor will take over the full-time captaincy role.
The Crusaders will host the Chiefs in Christchurch this weekend and have sold over 11,000 tickets to the game, despite a damning weather forecast.
The Chiefs are yet to win a game in the competition while the Crusaders scored five tries against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Sunday.
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