All Blacks center Ma'a Nonu will not play rugby again in 2014 after undergoing surgery on a broken arm sustained against South Africa.
All Blacks center Ma'a Nonu will not play rugby again in 2014 after undergoing surgery on a broken arm sustained against South Africa on Saturday.
Nonu suffered the injury in the first half of the 14-10 win over the Springboks in Wellington and was replaced at halftime but only after having played for nine minutes after suffering the injury when tackling opposite number Jean de Villiers.
The injury means Nonu will miss New Zealand's remaining Rugby Championship matches against Argentina in La Plata in a fortnight and South Africa in Johannesburg on October 5. He has also been ruled out of New Zealand's November tour to the United States and Britain.
All Head coach Steve Hansen confirmed that Nonu had undergone a corrective operation on Sunday.
“Ma'a has just come out of having an operation on his arm. It's broken.” said Hansen.
“He's got a plate in it. That will be his season and he will be back for the Hurricanes (in Super Rugby next year).”
The Test was the 55th time Nonu partnered Conrad Smith in midfield, equalling the world record of Irishmen Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy. Smith admitted afterwards that he told his team-mate and friend to play on.
“Ma'a told me straight away it was broken. I was probably aware of our shortage on the bench and said 'you'll be right',” said Smith
“But it was pretty obvious from then on (it was serious). You can tell with someone you've played with a lot that they're not quite right.
“To hear the news afterwards, I felt gutted for him,” added Smith.
“He won't enjoy sitting it out but he'll be back after getting a chance to refresh for next year.
The All Blacks are set to choose between Malakai Fekitoa and Ryan Crotty to replace Nonu while Sonny Bill Williams will be included in the November tour.
Hansen says he won't consider Ben Smith to start at inside centre despite his standout display when shifting in from the wing at halftime to replace Nonu.
Hansen added that it was satisfying to survive a Springboks forward assault without several of his key forwards, including prop Tony Woodcock.
“It tells us we've got a bit of depth, doesn't it?” he said.
“It seems to be working reasonably seamless. People come in, people go out.
“That's a reflection on the culture that the leaders are driving. Everyone's working hard for each other and the individual comes second.”
The coach said that fly-half Dan Carter will return to rugby in the coming weeks in ITM Cup but that flankers Jerome Kaino (elbow) and Liam Messam (thigh), and lock Sam Whitelock (rib) will all be on the plane to Argentina next week.