Rugby Championship
Nonu out for season with broken arm
ESPN Staff
September 14, 2014
New Zealand's Ma'a Nonu runs through South Africa's Handre Pollard, New Zealand v South Africa, Rugby Championship, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, September 13, 2014
Nonu has been huge for the All Blacks throughout the series © Getty Images

New Zealand have suffered a huge blow with the news Ma'a Nonu will miss the rest of the season with a broken arm, an injury he picked up in their win over South Africa on Saturday.

He underwent surgery to have a plate inserted on Sunday morning and won't play again until the Hurricanes' Super Rugby campaign next year. Coach Steve Hansen says Nonu's absence will be keenly felt but it will open the door for the likes of fringe midfielders Ryan Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa, along with returning code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams, who will probably be included on the November tour to the United States and Europe.

Crotty, who is recovering from a broken cheekbone suffered against Australia in Auckland last month, or Fekitoa will wear No.12 against Argentina in two weeks.

Victory over the winless Pumas at La Plata will clinch a third successive Rugby Championship crown for Hansen's men, who would conclude the tournament against the Springboks in Johannesburg a week later followed by the dead rubber third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on October 18.

That Test has been identified as the potential return for Dan Carter, whose slow-healing fractured leg has ruled him out of the next two Tests. Hansen confirmed Carter will be introduced gradually for Canterbury over coming weeks.

The news is brighter for Crotty, flankers Jerome Kaino (elbow) and Liam Messam (thigh), and lock Sam Whitelock (rib), who will all be on the plane to Argentina next week after missing Saturday's Test. Hansen says it was satisfying to survive a ferocious 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 All Blacks only ensured their 36th home win in succession when Kieran Read successfully disrupted a Springboks attacking lineout in the final play after the visitors had spent the closing minutes launching themselves at the tryline.

No.8 Kieran Read made a call to contest that South African throw, rather than form up to try to stop another rolling maul.

"It was a punt but we had to," Read said. "They're a good enough driving lineout that if we kept letting them set up, they'd probably go over and score. It's those calls that you've got to make, in the type of game that we had."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.