All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will be just as interested in the results of the X-rays for Scott Barrett and Ryan Crotty as Crusaders coach Scott Robertson ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby final against the Jaguares.

Because should the scans reveal a broken hand for lock Barrett and broken thumb for midfielder Crotty, the All Black pair will not only be ruled out of the competition showpiece in Christchurch, but also potentially the bulk of a truncated Rugby Championship.

An update on the pair, who were taken to hospital following their team's thrilling 30-26 semifinal win over the Hurricanes, should be given tomorrow before the All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad is announced at the Ponsonby Rugby Club.

Barrett, 25, has developed into one of the best locks in the world alongside Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick and should he be sidelined then Blues' player Patrick Tuipulotu's stocks will rise significantly, as will his playing time in the black jersey. Highlander Jackson Hemopo could suddenly find himself more important in the big scheme of things too.


The All Blacks' Rugby Championship squad was always going to be large because the selectors have decided they won't take any players involved in the Super Rugby final to Argentina for their team's first test of the Rugby Championship against the Pumas in Buenos Aires on July 21. There are 12 current All Blacks in the Crusaders starting line-up.

Given the knocks to Barrett and Crotty, the squad could now be even larger. A squad of 41 was named at the corresponding stage before the 2015 World Cup.

Should Crotty be ruled out of Saturday's final the news would be a big personal blow as it will be his last chance to play for the Crusaders before a shift overseas. It would, however, allow Braydon Ennor a potential start and the 21-year-old midfielder or wing is an excellent chance to be named in the All Blacks squad for the first time.

Ryan Crotty injured his right hand in the Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes. Photo / Photosport
Ryan Crotty injured his right hand in the Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes. Photo / Photosport

The selectors like him for his pace, decision making, and distribution skills; one of Ennor's first acts after running on to the semifinal in the second half was to put wing Sevu Reece away for a try with a brilliant wide pass off his left hand.

Reece is a possibility for his pace, try-scoring ability and potential point of difference at the World Cup, and the selectors may feel that with time and maturity the 22-year-old's defence can improve.

He occasionally gets caught out due to his enthusiasm more than anything but his talent in finding the try-line cannot be faulted. He scored a double against the Hurricanes to take his tally for his first season at this level to 15.

Should Reece or any of his Crusaders teammates on the fringe of selection not make it then Robertson could have work to do in order to get them to re-set their focus as he and his side prepare to play for their third title in three years and 10th in total.

"Obviously when you have a lot of guys with an opportunity to be an All Black, they're going to be disappointed if they don't make it," Robertson said.


"We'll treat that head on and congratulate the guys that make it and the ones that haven't, we'll get around them and console them and potentially there's going to be another opportunity if they play well in the final and keep putting pressure on.

"Rugby has injuries, it's part of the game, and their job if they're in that mix is to keep playing well and you never know."

All Blacks tests pre World Cup:
July 21 v Argentina in Buenos Aires
July 27 v South Africa in Wellington
August 10 v Australia in Perth
August 17 v Australia in Auckland
September 7 v Tonga in Hamilton