New Zealand
Luatua may join All Blacks' Cup casualties
June 4, 2015
Steven Luatua may soon opt for season-ending shoulder surgery © Getty Images
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Blues loose forward Steven Luatua faces a decision over shoulder surgery that could jeopardise his Rugby World Cup hopes. Luatua dislocated his left shoulder, suffering associated nerve damage, during the Blues' Super Rugby win over the Bulls in May. He was subsequently ruled out of the Blues' last three matches of the season.

The 14-Test All Black has to decide whether to have surgery now to fix the problem or try to get through to the global tournament. However, he has received encouraging advice from Blues medical staff that the damaged nerve is responding to treatment. Luatua will see a specialist in the coming days, but a decision on a treatment plan is isn't expected for about three weeks to allow more time for the nerve to settle.

"He'll possibly need an operation on his shoulder, so he will be out until next season," Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said. "He could force his way back but it would be at the limit. It's getting the operation and getting the recovery done."

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Fellow All Blacks and Blues forward Patrick Tuipulotu is already destined to miss the World Cup because of surgery. The 22-year-old seven-Test lock is having operations on both his hips, putting him out of rugby for the rest of the year.

Kirwan said the decisions before the likes of Luatua and Tuipulotu were tough ones. He said Luatua faced the danger of the shoulder popping out any time if he delayed the operation.

"With someone like Patrick, he's got a 15-year career ahead of him so he's got to make sure he looks after himself and gets himself right," he said. "It's a big decision, especially in World Cup year."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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