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Hurricanes hit with injury blow as captain Ardie Savea set for lengthy sideline spell

By Alex McLeod

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Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea will miss the next six-to-eight weeks of action after sustaining a knee injury in Sunday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Crusaders.

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On Tuesday, Savea announced on social media that he had torn his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee during his side’s 30-27 golden point defeat at Sky Stadium in Wellington.

While the injury will be a big blow for the Hurricanes, who are already struggling for on-field results, it isn’t expected to rule Savea out of the July test schedule, which is expected to see the All Blacks face off against Italy and Fiji across three matches.

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The 27-year-old picked up the injury shortly after half-time but kept playing until he was replaced by Du’Plessis Kirifi in the 61st minute.

“Unfortunately on the weekend I did my MCL so that’s going to take me out for 6-8 weeks, so unfortunately I’m going to miss some footy over that time, but it’s all good,” Savea said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

“Like life, you get knocked down but you just gotta keep moving forward. Thanks for all the love and the messages. Keep supporting our Hurricanes, fam, and I’ll be back. Peace out.”

The injury means the 49-test All Black will miss the Hurricanes’ final two Super Rugby Aotearoa matches against the Chiefs and Highlanders.

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He will also miss at least the first two matches of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition against the Waratahs and Rebels, and is in doubt for the following two matches against Western Force and Brumbies.

Savea should be available, however, for his side’s final match of the Trans-Tasman regular season against the Reds in Wellington.

The loose forward is the latest of many high-profile injury casualties to come out of Super Rugby Aotearoa this season.

In Sunday’s match alone, Crusaders duo Joe Moody (foot) and Jack Goodhue (knee) both succumbed to first half injuries and the Christchurch-based side are awaiting scans to determine the severity of each players’ injuries.

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The reigning champions are already without hooker Andrew Makalio (neck) and flanker Tom Christie (shoulder) – both of whom were selected for the South Island in last year’s North vs South clash – for the rest of the season.

Elsewhere, the Highlanders have endured a tough campaign as the likes of loose forward Liam Squire and promising young halfback Folau Fakatava have had their All Blacks selection chances ruined by knee injuries.

They join three-test Wallabies prop Jermaine Ainsley (ankle), two-test Tongan midfielder Fetuli Paea (ankle), midfielder Thomas Umaga-Jensen (arm) and wing Freedom Vahaakolo (foot) in the casualty ward with season-ending injuries.

Towering lock Pari Pari Parkinson could soon join that list after he re-injured the same ankle that required surgery and kept him sidelined between August and March during his side’s 26-23 golden point defeat to the Chiefs in Dunedin last Saturday.

Highlanders assistant coach Clarke Dermody told reporters on Monday the franchise are, like the Crusaders, awaiting scans to confirm the severity of the injury.

At the Blues, wing Jone Macilai-Tori is also out for the entire season with a fractured arm, while the Chiefs have lost All Blacks captain Sam Cane for six months due to a pectoral injury.

Savea has been touted as a potential replacement for Cane as All Blacks captain, but this latest injury could pave the way for another senior All Black to stake a claim for national captaincy.

No announcement has yet been made by the Hurricanes as to who will fill in for Savea as skipper, although lock James Blackwell assumed leadership duties when the former was subbed out of Sunday’s match.

The Hurricanes currently lie in last place in Super Rugby Aotearoa with just one win from six matches and are currently on their bye week.

Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:

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Hurricanes hit with injury blow as captain Ardie Savea set for lengthy sideline spell

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