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Crusaders suffer loss as All Black prop ruled out for the season

By Kim Ekin
Fletcher Newell. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Photosport)

The Crusaders have suffered another injury blow losing their third All Black over the opening rounds according to a report by Stuff.co.nz.

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After losing All Black midfield pair Jack Goodhue and David Havili in consecutive weeks, tighthead prop Fletcher Newell has succumbed to a foot injury suffered against the Chiefs and will miss the rest of the season.

The recently capped All Black injured his big toe in the opening round and the decision was made to undergo surgery last week. The Crusaders are now without Newell and All Blacks XV rep Oli Jager in the front row for the season.

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It was a double blow for the Crusaders as lock Mitch Dunshea’s chest injury will see him miss his second straight season.

Question marks surround the timeline for All Blacks star Will Jordan to return, who has been out of action since last year’s Super Rugby Pacific final against the Blues with an ear problem.

The Crusaders’ depth is set to be tested as the prepare for a Super Rugby Pacific final rematch against the Blues at Eden Park this weekend.

They will be without eight players of the 23 who ended the Blues 15-game winning streak with a 21-7 victory due to injuries and club departures.

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After losing to the Fijian Drua in Luatoka over the weekend, Scott Robertson’s side will be desperate to avoid a 1-3 start by going down to their fierce rivals in Auckland.

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Former All Black and ex-Crusaders halfback Justin Marshall has labelled the clash as “must win” for the Crusaders as they look to avoid their worst start to a season since Robertson took over.

“They’ve certainly put themselves now in a must-win type situation, no doubt about it,” Marshall told SENZ’s The Rugby Run show.

“I think the game in Fiji would have been draining, but I certainly feel that the game in Wellington … and the Blues (was more physical), they had some very sore players.

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“It was an incredibly physical game so I think the Crusaders won’t have kind of had that type of physicality against the Drua because it was a more free-flowing game.

“They’ve got to reset as well to get back to that physical mindset to take on the Blues who have just been through a game like that.”

After resting some of their big name All Blacks against the Drua, the side will likely re-load for the Blues with the return of Richie Mo’unga, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Ethan Blackadder and Mitchell Drummond.

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