All Blacks midfielder Jack Goodhue has been ruled out of the 2021 rugby season after suffering a serious knee injury.
Goodhue was helped from the field with an injury to his left knee in the 21st minute of the Crusaders' golden-point win over the Hurricanes on Sunday.
The Crusaders confirmed this morning that Goodhue ruptured an ACL.
"He will require surgery, and is not expected to be available for any further rugby in 2021," the Crusaders said in a statement.
Coach Scott Robertson says the anterior cruciate ligament injury to Goodhue is a tough blow.
"He got caught in one of those positions you do in rugby now and again, full flight. We're gutted for him [but] he's been through this before and come back in great condition, we've got a great group of medical staff that will help him get back to his best," he says.
Robertson adds there was also damage to Goodhue's MCL and PCL.
He confirmed utility back Braydon Ennor, who is out with a similar knee injury, is set to play club rugby for the next two weeks, but is unlikely to feature in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
"That game against the Brumbies, our first transtasman game, we're pitching for him," Robertson says.
Goodhue started in five tests in 2020 and has been a regular in the All Blacks squad after making his debut in 2017. His injury is another blow for the All Blacks' 2021 campaign with captain Sam Cane and fellow loose forward Ardie Savea also suffering serious injuries in recent weeks.
Cane is to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season and a chunk of the All Blacks campaign after suffering a pectoral injury while playing against the Blues on March 27.
Savea provided an update on his MCL knee injury on his social media channels on Tuesday, saying he will likely be out for up to eight weeks.
The Crusaders also provided an update on prop Joe Moody who had scans which confirmed a significant injury to the soft tissues at the base of his big toe.
He will see a specialist in the next fortnight and a return timeframe will be clearer then.
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum told the Country Sport Breakfast he didn't want to base the injury toll on two weeks of action but said playing Super Rugby Aotearoa every year wasn't sustainable.
"We don't want to read too much into two weeks but we know that playing that standard and intensity of rugby year on year on year is not really sustainable for our players.
"As a competition, as fans we love it right? To see our best against our best every weekend and last weekend two golden-point games is brilliant. But we're looking forward to a more balanced programme for those players next year where we have Australian teams in the mix and hopefully these Pasifika teams in the mix, so you're not watching All Blacks trials every weekend. It will be great variety and I think the players will enjoy that variety as well."
The All Blacks are set to start their season in July – Covid-19 permitting – with Italy scheduled to visit New Zealand for two tests and Fiji for a one-off showdown.
Young Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava – a likely future All Black who impressed with his performances this season – also suffered a season-ending injury this month.
The Highlanders announced last week that the 21-year-old had torn his ACL and will require surgery, ruling him out for nine to 12 months.