The New Zealand All Blacks have been dealt a huge blow with the news that Damian McKenzie has ruptured his ACL and is ruled out of the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
The Chiefs player suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while on club duty at the weekend against the Blues with All Blacks head coach, Steven Hansen, fearful that more of his squad could suffer injuries in the lead up to the World Cup due to the ferocity of the Super Rugby.
“He could be out for eight to nine months,” Hansen told reporters.
“It’s a real shame for him, his World Cup opportunity has gone but he’s still young enough to probably make the next two (World Cups). It’s just important he gets his knee right and takes the time to be able to come back and achieve the dreams that he wants to achieve.”
INJURY UPDATE | Damian McKenzie has been ruled out of rugby for up to 9 months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the Gallagher Chiefs match against the Blues on Saturday evening.
We are wishing Damian all the best for his recovery!
— Gallagher Chiefs (@ChiefsRugby) April 15, 2019
“It’s sad for him obviously. It creates another opportunity for somebody else.
“We’ve got to expect injuries and there’ll be more than just him, I suggest, by the time we finally name the team to go to the World Cup.”
The Chiefs fullback limped from the Waikato Stadium pitch on Saturday night after clashing with Blues outhalf, Otere Black. McKenzie left the field with the help of a Chiefs medic but seemed in serious distress.
News of his injury will come as a severe blow to the World Champions as they go in search of three Webb Ellis trophies in a row, something that has never been achieved before.
McKenzie has carved a successful career out for himself as a utility back, while he plays mostly at full-back he can provide cover at outhalf and is often a spark of creativity in the New Zealand team.