New Zealand
Cruden remains hopeful of World Cup return
April 20, 2015
Cruden stills remains hopeful he can make a comeback in time for the World Cup © Getty Images
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All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden hasn't entirely resigned himself to missing the Rugby World Cup, despite rupturing his left knee's anterior cruciate ligament. Cruden limped from the field midway through the first half of the Chiefs' 26-9 Super Rugby win over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

Scans on Monday confirmed he will need knee reconstruction surgery, which usually requires a recovery period of six months. But Cruden says he still holds faints hopes of being available for selection when the World Cup kicks off in England on September 18.

"If you look at the last World Cup, there were a few injuries and guys getting called in late so I guess, all going well with my rehab and recovery, who knows what can happen."

However, the 26-year-old says at the moment he's concentrating on recovering from the injury which he initially thought wasn't that serious.

"I was just running a support line, then went to change direction and head up to the next phase of attack," Cruden said. "When I propped off my left foot, I felt a bit of a pop in my left knee. I wasn't too sure what it was. It wasn't too sore, and it still isn't extremely sore right now."

Cruden says the injury is probably the most serious he's suffered, although he was forced out of the 2011 World Cup final against France when he hyper-extended his right knee.

"I'm extremely disappointed and quite frustrated," he said. "This year I had a lot of goals - winning the Super Rugby title with the Chiefs and then the World Cup later in the year, playing a major part in that for the All Blacks. For me now, it's about re-evaluating those goals, setting other ones and ripping into my rehab and recovery as soon as possible."

Cruden, who made his All Blacks debut against Ireland in 2010, has 37 Test caps and accumulated 280 points for New Zealand.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says his loss is a blow to both the Chiefs and New Zealand.

"He has developed into a very good Test All Black and is a key member of our team. He will be a loss for the Chiefs and the All Blacks, and we wish him all the best with his surgery and rehab."

Cruden was locked in a tight race for the starting five-eighth berth this year with Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett. The versatile Colin Slade is regarded as another strong World Cup selection chance, while Lima Sopoaga's form for the Highlanders has also impressed.

© AAP

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