Super Rugby Pacific: All Blacks, Crusaders winger Sevu Reece ruled out of 2023, Rugby World Cup with knee injury

Crusaders and All Blacks winger Sevu Reece will miss the rest of 2023, including the Rugby World Cup in France with a knee injury, coach Scott Robertson has confirmed.

Reece, 26, injured his knee earlier this month in his side's win over the Blues at Eden Park, and missed the Crusaders' 35-17 victory over the Brumbies in Christchurch last Friday.

And on top of a mounting casualty ward that's seen the Crusaders without a number of first team regulars, Reece's season-ending injury is another blow for the reigning champions.

"Sevu's out for the whole of the 2023 season," said Robertson. "He's back in '24.

"We really feel for him. He's been incredible for us. It's a big loss.

"A lot of work will get him back to where he was beforehand, being a world class wing."

On top of Reece, Robertson confirmed loose forward Ethan Blackadder will also miss six weeks with an injured calf, as the latest international to be ruled out for the near future. 

The Crusaders are already without All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock (broken hand), midfielders David Havili (shoulder) and Jack Goodhue (groin), winger Will Jordan (vestibular) and loose forward Cullen Grace (shoulder). 

The injury list is so extensive, the Crusaders have been given dispensation to play lock Scott Barrett against the Reds this week, despite All Blacks rest orders.

Robertson, though, remains philosophical over his side's bad luck on the injury front. 

"It's part of playing rugby, and part of being an athlete," he added. "You'd like it to be a little bit more spread out, or not happen at all, but it's just part of it.

"You've just got to get around the guys that have had injuries. We'll make a big deal around it and make sure we support them all the way.

"It's tough, tough for them."