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Crusaders unsure if Joe Moody will play for them again this season

By Alex McLeod
Photo: Martin Hunter/

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson is unsure whether veteran prop Joe Moody will feature at all during the remainder of the Super Rugby Pacific campaign.


Moody was an injury casualty in last week’s 27-23 defeat at the hands of the Blues in Christchurch, departing the field near the end of the first half with a knee injury.

Speaking to media on Thursday, Robertson was reluctant to give a definitive timeline around when Moody might return to action as awaits scans to determine the severity of the injury.

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What the All Blacks squad could look like halfway through Super Rugby Pacific | Aotearoa Rugby Pod
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What the All Blacks squad could look like halfway through Super Rugby Pacific | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

“Unsure… It doesn’t look good,” Robertson said when asked whether Moody will play for the Crusaders again this year.

“Joe’s got a decent injury, so he’s going to get his knee scanned, trying to make sure we’ve got the right scans so that we’ve got a full report on it, but he definitely won’t be with us in Australia, and potentially longer. That’s all I can give for now.”

News of Moody’s injury is a blow not only for the Crusaders, who highly value the 33-year-old loosehead prop’s seniority and experience, but potentially also for the All Blacks.

While it’s yet to be determined just how long the 57-test international will be sidelined for, the uncertainty about his availability for the Crusaders casts a shadow of doubt over whether he will be fit to play for the All Blacks against Ireland in July.


All Blacks boss Ian Foster is already contending with the long-term shoulder injury to Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, while a raft of other prospective players have been sidelined in recent weeks.

That list of players includes Brodie Retallick (broken thumb), Dane Coles (extended leave), Shannon Frizell (knee), Brad Weber (shoulder), Akira Ioane (foot), Finlay Christie (concussion), Alex Hodgman (concussion) and Josh Ioane (ribs).

In Moody’s absence, the Crusaders have called in former Chiefs prop Ryan Coxon as an injury replacement, and he joins the squad as one of four loosehead prop options alongside George Bower, Finlay Brewis and Tamaiti Williams.

More positively, Robertson will welcome back All Blacks midfielder Jack Goodhue from the ruptured ACL injury he sustained while playing for the Crusaders in Super Rugby Aotearoa last April.


It’s been more than a year since Goodhue last took to the field, and Robertson is eager to see his star man back in action this weekend after naming the 26-year-old to start at second-five against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Sunday.


“Jacky G’s an important part of our group over the years, on and off the field,” Robertson said.

“He’s a man of big heart, big engine, and it’s timely. He brings a bit of energy back into the group. We know he’s a great player, but also a great man, so we’re all really pleased for him.

“The knee injury that he had was a big one You don’t get many bigger in regards to a contact sport, so we’re really pleased for him and his efforts.”

Goodhue isn’t the only injury returnee for the Crusaders, as experienced lock Sam Whitelock has shaken off a broken finger to return to the starting lineup for the first time since their loss to the Chiefs in Christchurch last month.

“Sam’s a general commander, he’s got his hand across everything and been around, seen it all, played in the biggest matches, and it’s timely for us,” Robertson said of Whitelock’s return.

“He’s obviously into being our vice-captain and he does a lot of work on and off the field for us, so his presence is important for us.”

Whitelock takes the place of the suspended Scott Barrett, who is serving a four-week ban for his high tackle against Hodgman during last week’s defeat to the Blues.


That suspension means Barrett will miss the Crusaders’ entire tour of Australia, where they will face the Rebels, Waratahs, Force and Brumbies in consecutive weeks.

Robertson described Barrett’s indiscretion as “out-of-character” and said the Crusaders captain will use his time away from the squad to improve his “mental game” and tackling technique.

“He’s genuinely disappointed in himself. Pretty hard on himself, Scott, and he’s taken a step back and put a big process in place for himself to get better, just to probably help himself in his mental game,” Robertson said.

“It’s pretty out-of-character. He’s been great for a couple of years now, but, at that moment, it could have been better. He’s got a few more weeks to work on it technically, which is part of the [four]-week ban, and then also just on the mental side of his game.”

Elsewhere, flanker Sione Havili will link up with the squad following this week’s match after having missed the entire season thus far through injury.

“He won’t be travelling with us this Friday, but he’ll come and join the tour. We’ve got some great loose forwards and a lot of depth,”Robertson said.

“Sione’s pretty much back to full fitness and available to get picked, so he’ll get an opportunity this tour.”


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