The Crusaders have issued an update on David Havili’s injury situation after the utility back underwent emergency surgery on his abdominal on Friday.

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The 25-year-old was absent from his side’s 24-20 victory over the Reds in Christchurch three days ago as the Crusaders announced on Sunday that he went under the knife after “experiencing some discomfort”.

In another brief statement released on Monday, the Crusaders said that Havili had a “serious infection of his bowel” which caused the urgent surgery, and that the utility back “is recovering well but will not be available for several weeks”.

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“As this is a non rugby-related issue, the Crusaders won’t be commenting further, and a return to play timeframe will be advised at a later date,” the statement concluded.

The injury blow is a significant one for both Havili and the Crusaders.

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Havili has been one of the form players in Super Rugby so far this season, having impressed for the back-to-back-to-back reigning champions mainly from fullback, but also at first-five.

Statistically speaking, he has made the most offloads (14) in the competition to date, while also accumulating an impressive 258 running metres, six clean breaks and beaten 14 defenders in just four matches.

Without Havili, the Crusaders will be without one of their key attacking figures for an undisclosed yet lengthy period.

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On a personal level, the injury is an untimely one for the three-test All Black, who can also play in the midfield and is looking to regain his place in the national side after having made his last appearance at test level in 2017.

The departures of Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith have opened some berths in the All Blacks squad for some fresh faces, and Havili’s early season exploits made him a top candidate to fill one of those voids.

However, his selection chances may be cast in doubt thanks to this bowel infection, although there remains hope that he could return before the end of the campaign to play his way back into national contention.

In Havili’s absence, the Crusaders can call upon promising youngster Will Jordan to plug the gap at fullback, but a niggling groin injury has seen him sidelined in recent weeks.

Nine-test George Bridge played well in the No. 15 jersey during the Crusaders’ win over the Reds and may be utilised there until Jordan or Havili become match fit, although All Blacks rest weeks could alter his availability status.

The fourth-placed Crusaders will continue their quest to secure a fourth successive Super Rugby crown this weekend when they travel to Brisbane to take on the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium.

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