All Blacks hit by injuries with Lions on horizon

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 10:54
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INJURY UPDATE: A gruelling round three of Super Rugby this weekend has proved costly for New Zealand's backline, with five All Blacks sidelined with leg injuries.

Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Seta Tamanivalu and Lima Sopoaga were all injured ahead of the arrival of the British and Irish Lions in June.

The fullback cupboard is almost bare with the enforced absence of utilities Dagg and Milner-Skudder, which followed the concussion that has kept Ben Smith sidelined since the Highlanders' first-round match against the Chiefs.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told Radio Live Dagg was unlikely to be back this month.

"It didn't look great so that's an indication of what we are dealing with. It's not a major-major but it will be a few weeks for sure."

Dagg and Tamanivalu were injured early in the Crusaders' come-from-behind performance to beat the Reds 22-20 in Brisbane.

Naholo and Sopoaga limped off during the Highlanders 16-12 win over the Blues.

Sopoaga landed two penalties and a conversion in the match before he was injured attempting a try-saving tackle on fellow All Black George Moala.

"It doesn't look good," Highlanders coach Tony Brown told reporters.

"It looks like Lima will be out for a while; Waisake probably the same. Hamstrings don't come right overnight so those guys are going to be tough to replace."

Milner-Skudder, one of the stars of the 2015 World Cup, missed nearly all rugby last year because of a shoulder injury.

He scored three tries in his first game for the Hurricanes this season and looked to be back to his best until he injured an ankle during their 26-18 loss to the Waikato Chiefs last Friday.

Milner-Skudder has his foot in a moon boot and is scheduled to have a scan on Monday, with Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland fearing ligament damage that would keep him sidelined for at least four weeks.

Agence France-Presse

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