A potentially serious injury to prop Oli Jager has overshadowed the Crusaders' comeback win over the Highlanders in their pre-season fixture at Temuka.
Jager left the field in the second half of his side's 28-26 win and was unable to put weight on his left foot, possibly adding another chapter to a long series of injury issues for the Irishman.
The defending Super Rugby Aotearoa champions are already without loose forward Tom Sanders (fractured cheek) for an extended period, while All Blacks utility Braydon Ennor and hooker Andrew Makalio have been ruled out for the entire campaign.
Trailing 26-0 after a dire first half, the Crusaders - without their All Blacks contingent - stormed back in the second stanza, running in 28 unanswered points to steal victory.
Flanker Sione Havili crossed in the dying stages, when Highlanders skipper Michael Collins took the opportunity to enact the new captain's challenge, albeit unsuccessfully.
Brett Cameron's sideline conversion put the Crusaders in front, with Highlanders first-five Caleb Makene shanking a 40m penalty with time expired.
Cameron was a standout for the Crusaders, alongside wing Timoci Tavatavanawai, who scored a brace of tries.
Hawke's Bay halfback Folau Fakatava shone for the Highlanders, while hooker Liam Coltman rumbled over for two tries.
The Crusaders move on to play in the Blues at Eden Park next weekend in their final hitout, before their season opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin on February 27.
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