Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

All Blacks' McKenzie to miss World Cup with ACL injury

All Blacks' McKenzie to miss World Cup with ACL injury

Damian McKenzie is the latest to be sidelined after limping off with knee damage during Saturday's bruising Super Rugby derby match between the Waikato Chiefs and Auckland Blues.

McKenzie, who plays at fullback or flyhalf, has been a key figure in the two-playmaker structure New Zealand has fostered in recent seasons.

Steve Hansen has been as impressed as anyone at Ma'a Nonu's form on his return to New Zealand rugby with the Blues, and says a place in the World Cup squad is possible for the 36-year-old.

Mckenzie sustained the blow during the start of the second half following which he was replaced by Ataata Moeakiola and now will need "eight to nine months" of rehabilitation according to All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.

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"He's still young enough to probably. make the next two (World Cups) so it creates another opportunity for somebody else".

"It's just important that he gets his knee right and takes his time to come back and achieve the dreams that he wants to achieve".

"It's sad for him obviously".

"We know he can play test rugby, he just has to show that he's got the ability to do that on a weekly basis at Super Rugby level and then we have to make hard decisions".

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McKenzie is originally from Invercargill and went to school in Christchurch.

Hansen believed he has the personnel to cover McKenzie's loss, singling out five-eighths Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga and outside backs Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett as players blessed with versatile skills.

Now, it looks as if the All Blacks selectors will have to change their plans.

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