New Zealand Rugby
Ankles could be Achilles' heel for All Blacks
March 29, 2010
Tom Donnelly won't be tackling Rocky Elsom for a while after ankle surgery © Getty Images
Ankle injuries have left veteran New Zealand forwards Tom Donnelly and Corey Flynn struggling for opportunities to retain their All Blacks jerseys in June.
Highlanders lock Donnelly and Crusaders hooker Flynn both toured with the All Blacks late last year and were involved with the season-finale thrashing of France in Marseille.
However, Donnelly, 28, is to undergo surgery on an ankle tomorrow and is likely to be ruled out of the rest of the Super 14 while Flynn, 29, is also out with an ankle problem.
A Crusaders spokesman said on Monday that Flynn had fractured a bone in his left ankle, which was likely to rule him out until near the end of the Super 14 season.
Flynn, who has a small, undisplaced fracture of the talus bone suffered the injury when also spraining his ankle in an early February pre-season match against the Blues in Motueka.
Initial x-rays did not show any bone injury, but recently his progress stalled and an MRI scan revealed the fracture.
Flynn was a second-half replacement for the Crusaders against the Blues and Chiefs but won't be playing any more matches until his fracture heals. Tasman hooker Daniel Perrin, who played five matches for the Crusaders last year, will take his place.
Flynn took his test tally to seven when used against Italy and France last November but his dreadful run with injury has returned during the Super 14.
Donnelly will have a pin inserted to relieve pain that has been bothering him all season and is likely to be sidelined for six weeks -- which is about when the Super 14 regular season ends.
Donnelly forced his way into the All Blacks in place of Isaac Ross for the test defeat of Australia in Wellington last August and retained his place in the first choice locking combination alongside Brad Thorn.
"It's always tough, when you're not playing Super 14, to harbour any hope of getting back in the All Blacks," Donnelly told the Otago Daily Times. "Probably, the NPC (for Otago) will be my next outing and we'll go from there."