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‘Into the muscle’: All Blacks prop receives 30 stitches for gruesome cut

By Finn Morton
New Zealand's prop Tyrel Lomax leaves the field after receiving medical treatment during the pre-World Cup Rugby Union match between New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium in west London, on August 25, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

All Blacks prop Tyrel Lomax is “unlikely” to suit up against France in next month’s Rugby World Cup opener after receiving 30 stitches for a gruesome leg injury.

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Lomax has come a long way in his 12 months as a regular first-choice All Black, and the Australian-born enforcer was expected to play a pivotal role in New Zealand’s World Cup campaign.

But, at least for a moment, it seemed like Lomax’s World Cup was going to come to a painful end before it’d even begun.

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All Blacks fans watched on in silence as Lomax was treated on the hallowed turf of Twickenham on Friday night. The rampaging prop pulled up second-best after a tackle against the Springboks.

Lomax was cleared of any ligament damage, but wasn’t exactly out of the woods with a deep cut posing cause for concern. The front rower was carted off the field after just 13 minutes.

The All Blacks went on to lose that now infamous Test 35-7. New Zealand rugby fans had a reason to be worried, sure, and were desperate to hear answers to some pressing questions.

Coach Ian Foster confirmed that Lomax was “pretty bad” and “not in a great way” after being cut by a stud. But the extent of this injury remained unclear, although it didn’t look great.

Points Flow Chart

South Africa win +28
Time in lead
0
Mins in lead
64
0%
% Of Game In Lead
80%
67%
Possession Last 10 min
33%
7
Points Last 10 min
0

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On the morning after the Test, Foster shared another update on how the injured All Blacks starter was tracking.

“Tyrel is very sore. He’s our worst,” Foster told reporters.

“He’s got 30 stiches, got stitched by a surgeon last night and at different depths so it’s actually gone into the muscle.

“His leg will be in a brace for four or five days as we give that a chance to heal. Long term he looks good, but he’s put himself into the unlikely category, I thought, in a fortnight.”

The other injury concern to come out of the 28-point defeat prop Ethan de Groot, who is regularly Lomax’s front-row partner-in-crime.

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De Groot received some treatment during the match, but much to the relief of All Blacks fans, players and coaches, the world-class loosehead bounced back up and carried on playing.

“Others are actually not too bad,” Foster added.

“Ethan’s knee, he felt his knee in that first half but played on and that sub was effectively at the time we expected to make it.

“There’s obviously some sore people but they’re the main ones.”

Following the media opportunity at the All Blacks’ hotel on Saturday morning, Lomax was seen walking around with a brace around his leg.

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But it’s all part of the plan to get Lomax back on the field as soon as possible.

Coach Foster also insisted that Lomax was not in any danger of missing out on the Rugby World Cup, and neither was Scott Barrett who received two yellow cards against the Boks.

“I see no reason why we would be changing Tyrel.

“There’s no reason why we’d be changing the squad based on information we have right now.”

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Jon 2 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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