SUPER RUGBY WINNER Waisake Naholo’s World Cup dream has been crushed, after it was confirmed the Highlanders star broke his leg in the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina yesterday.
The 24-year-old Fijian born winger made his debut in the 39-18 win in Christchurch, but was forced off early in the second half with what has since been confirmed as a cracked fibula.
Naholo stormed into the New Zealand squad after dazzling for the Highlanders as they won the Super Rugby title for the first time, scoring 13 tries in the campaign.
He’s now set for at least three months on the sidelines, ruling him out of contention for World Cup selection.
Head coach Steve Hansen said that the x-ray result has come as a huge surprise, with Naholo originally being able to put weight on his leg following the game.
“We are all a bit shocked about it because he was weight-bearing on it and pretty good,” Hansen said.
“But he got back here last night and got really sore, so the doctor thought he better have it scanned. And in the scan there is a very fine crack in it [the bone]. It just means three months out.”
Carter scored 14 points in his final Christchurch test match. Source: Photosport/Chris Symes/INPHO
Elsewhere, Hansen has shuffled his squad for next week’s trip to South Africa in The Rugby Championship, resting both Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams ahead of the back-to-back meetings with Australia.
Hansen reiterated that neither were dropped however, as he aims to rotate his 41-man squad ahead of the World Cup in September.
“Normally if we had a squad of 31, both of them would be in it and would be coming,” Hansen said.
“We are just building on what we are trying to do as a team. With a squad of 41 if we do have to bring people in then we have had guys who have a taste of it and know what it is like and can fit in pretty easily.”
Forwards: Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Tony Woodcock, James Broadhurst, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Victor Vito
Click Here: ireland football jerseys
Backs: Andy Ellis, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Lima Sopoaga, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith
Steve Hansen calls for mauls to be collapsed after “bloody boring” Argentina triesIt’s Shane ‘Shaggy’ Horgan’s birthday! How well do you know Irish rugby nicknames?