The All Blacks injury woes have continued, with prop Joe Moody ruled out for 4-5 months with a toe injury.
Moody injured his foot during an attacking scrum in the Crusaders' round seven golden-point victory over the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium.
The injury will see him miss the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, and the All Blacks' first three fixtures of the year against Italy and Fiji, before returning for the Northern Hemisphere tour at the end of the year.
The 32-year-old was helped from the field by medical staff in the first half of his 100th Super Rugby match and was later seen in a moon boot on the bench.
Initially, Moody seemed to have avoided surgery, but further scans to the damaged plantar fascia ligament revealed surgery was necessary.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has confirmed the worse news after his side's 29-6 hammering of the Blues, but did put a positive spin on it.
Robertson says the injury was "probably slightly better" than captain Scott Barrett's similar misfortune last year, when he missed the entire Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.
This continues the bad run of injuries for the All Blacks, with forwards Sam Cane and Ardie Savea ruled out for an extended period, while midfielder Jack Goodhue is scratched for the rest of the year.
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