Crusaders vice-captain David Havili underwent surgery late last week to remove a foreign object from his stomach and is expected to spend some time on the sidelines recovering.
The utility back who has spent most of the season parked at fullback has been one of Super Rugby’s best performers this year, reigniting calls for Havili to be recognised for higher honours.
Havili made his All Blacks debut in the 2017 Rugby Championship, coming off the bench against Argentina. He went on to make four further appearances for New Zealand in 2017 but wasn’t required for international duty in 2018 or 2019.
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Havili has stood out in a Crusaders backline packed with talent and has been an automatic selection for the Scott Roberson-coached side in 2020. He was even called upon to slot in at 10 against the Chiefs when Richie Mo’unga was unavailable.
Havili’s latest set-back, confirmed early on Sunday morning by the Crusaders, could give young tyro Will Jordan the opportunity for some extended minutes at fullback – though he too was absent from the Crusaders’ patchy 24-20 win over the Reds on Friday thanks to a lingering groin injury.
George Bridge, who started against the Reds, is another option.
Havili’s return time-frame is unclear but Robertson will be desperate to have the experienced operator back before the Crusaders’ run of three derby matches starting in two weeks, against the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Blues.
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