Super Rugby 2020: Crusaders reveal reason for David Havili's emergency surgery

The Crusaders will be without David Havili for a long spell, after their star fullback underwent emergency surgery for a serious bowel infection.

On Monday, the franchise confirmed Havili would miss "several weeks", as he recovers from the procedure.

The Crusaders released a brief statement on Havili's situation and refused to elaborate on what they deemed a "non-rugby-related issue".

"As this is a non-rugby-related issue, the Crusaders won't be commenting further and a return to play timeframe will be advised at a later date," they said.

The absence is a cruel blow to Havili, who was playing some of the best rugby of his career and seemed destined for a return to All Blacks honours.

"It's disappointing for [Havili]," said assistant coach Jason Ryan.

"Like any player, it's going to be a loss, but obviously he was on fire… he's just got to go through the recovery and get everything right."

With regards to Havili's replacement, Ryan said they were pleased with George Bridge's play from the back in recent weeks, while Will Jordan - close to a return from injury - was another option.

The 25-year-old's loss will sting arguably just as much for the Crusaders, who have yet to replicate their title-winning form of 2019.

On Friday night, the Reds ran them much closer than expected, ultimately falling 24-20 in a hard-fought encounter in Christchurch.

With the Sunwolves looming this weekend, Ryan noted one key of improvement that emerged from the review of last weekend's error-ridden performance against the Australians.

"We created a lot of pressure [on their lineout], but it's how we put pressure back on teams that was probably the big one."

"It was a good hit-out, really physical, especially in the close contact stuff. It was the most tackles we've made all year.

"We looked at why that was and why we were giving the ball back. We have a pretty clear plan on where we need to move forward as a team from here."

Saturday's fixture has been relocated from Tokyo to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, which is a disruption Ryan said they were happy to accommodate.

"It's not as far to travel, and it's probably going to be a lot hotter and a lot more humid… but obviously the Sunwolves are going through a bit with their relocation.

The Crusaders will play the first leg of a doubleheader, which also includes the hometown Reds against the Bulls.

"We get behind them. They're doing the best they can with where they've established themselves in Brisbane and we just have to work around it.

"We're looking forward to getting over there and playing a doubleheader. It'll be great."

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