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The All Blacks injury list just three rounds into Super Rugby

By Kim Ekin
Crusaders' David Havili (C) runs to score a try during the Super Rugby match between the Canterbury Crusaders and the Otago Highlanders at the AAMI Park in Melbourne on March 3, 2023. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Round three of Super Rugby Pacific took a toll for the New Zealand sides as a number of All Blacks were forced from the field in their respective clashes.


For the Chiefs, lock and blindside flanker Tupou Vaa’i was forced off on Friday night against the Highlanders in the first half.

The Crusaders lost their second midfielder in as many weeks with David Havili succumbing to a wrist injury early in the first half against the Drua in Luatoka.

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Returning All Black Jack Goodhue was forced from the field early against the Highlanders in the Super Round in Melbourne just two weeks after returning to play following a long layoff in 2022.

The Blues lost another All Black lock on Saturday against the Hurricanes with Patrick Tuipulotu limped from the field in the 24th minute shortly after scoring his try with what appeared to be a leg injury, which put reserve lock James Tucker into the game early.

After losing Sam Darry to injury in pre-season the Blues depth at lock is becoming an issue.

However the positional group of concern for the All Blacks is the midfield with four key players, including the two most experienced centres, recovering on the sidelines.


Chiefs pair Quinn Tupaea and Anton Lienert-Brown and the aforementioned Crusaders Goodhue and Havili combine for 116 test caps of experience.

“The midfield is starting to look a little thin,” ex-All Black Mils Muliaina told The Breakdown panel.

“You’ve got Goodhue out, and now Havili, Anton Lienert-Brown. The experience, there is a big gap there.”

The All Blacks midfield combination that finished 2022 was Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes and Rieko Ioane of the Blues who have remained healthy.


But it is the depth behind them that is now becoming a worry with Tupaea a race to be fit for the World Cup following serious leg injury suffered in Melbourne against the Wallabies.

Goodhue and Lienert-Brown have struggled to stay healthy over the last couple of seasons which was ex-All Black John Kirwan’s biggest concern.

“What I’m more concerned about is the repetitive injury. Anton [Leinert-Brown] hasn’t put a season together for a couple of years, and we’ve missed him,” Kirwan said.

“Havili now injured, he got a bit injured last year, Goodhue’s struggled to come back from injury.

“That’s my concern. It’s those guys coming back and then getting injured.

“12 and 13 are fundamental. We need a combination at 12 and 13 and we need them to play as much as possible.”

Ex-All Black Jeff Wilson highlighted the injury that worries him the most as Crusaders weapon Will Jordan.

The star fullback didn’t travel with the All Blacks on the end of year tour last season with an ear issue that causes migraines and hasn’t appeared for the Crusaders so far this season.

The ambiguity of the injury makes it difficult to assess timelines for a return with symptoms taking some time to abate.

Former All Black fullback Ben Smith suffered a similar injury back in 2017 that was originally thought to be concussion related but ended up being an inner ear problem.

“We haven’t seen Will Jordan. That’s probably the one at the moment [that concerns],” Wilson said.

“He is a difference maker for the All Blacks. He is a try scoring machine when he is on and playing well.

“He is the one that I look at. He gives you versatility at wing and fullback.

“I think a lot of the injuries that we are aware of, are recoverable.”

All Blacks injury list after round three of Super Rugby Pacific:

Crusaders: Will Jordan, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Cullen Grace

Highlanders: N/A

Chiefs: Angus Ta’avao, Josh Lord, Atu Moli, Quinn Tupaea, Tupou Vaa’i, Anton Lienert-Brown

Hurricanes: TJ Perenara

Blues: Patrick Tuipulotu, Akira Ioane, Ofa Tu’ungafasi (concussion protocols), Mark Telea (concussion protocols)


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