All Blacks centre ruled out of Rugby Championship as Crusaders hit with double injury blow

Adam Kyriacou
David Havili for All Blacks

All Blacks inside centre David Havili.

New Zealand have been hit by a blow after centre David Havili was ruled out of the Rugby Championship due to a serious hamstring injury.

Havili picked up the injury during the Crusaders’ 42-18 victory over the Waratahs in Super Rugby Pacific and is set to be out for two months.

That timeframe means he will miss their Rugby Championship campaign, which kicks off against Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday, July 8.

Cullen Grace ruled out

In a further injury setback for the Crusaders, number eight Cullen Grace has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee issue.

The one-cap All Black sustained a dislocated knee-cap and head coach Scott Robertson confirmed the pair will miss the Super Rugby run-in.

“Both are out for the Super campaign, unfortunately,” he told the media, with his team taking on the Hurricanes in Wellington this Saturday.

“Really disappointed for them, they’re such big contributors to our team and really important parts of it.”

This weekend is the final regular-season round of the Super Rugby Pacific season, with the Crusaders already assured of a top four position.

All Blacks midfield concern

Havili‘s absence for the Rugby Championship leaves the door at inside centre open for the likes of Anton Lienert-Brown and Jordie Barrett.

Barrett started the All Blacks‘ latest game which was against England in November, with Lienert-Brown having recently returned to fitness.

After they open their Rugby Championship campaign at the Pumas, they host South Africa (Auckland) before facing Australia (Melbourne).

Ian Foster’s men will then face the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland before a World Cup warm-up match with the Boks at Twickenham.

The All Blacks are in the same Rugby World Cup pool as France, Namibia, Italy and Uruguay, kicking off against the hosts on September 8.

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