New Zealand Rugby
Slade to miss rest of season
ESPNscrum Staff
April 16, 2011
Highlanders fly-half Colin Slade exploits some space, Highlanders v Cheetahs, Super Rugby, Carisbrook, Dunedin, New Zealand, April 8, 2011
Colin Slade suffered a broken jaw against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday © Getty Images

Colin Slade's hopes of going to the World Cup with the All Blacks have suffered a major blow after the Highlanders confirmed their fly-half has broken his jaw for the second time this year.

The 23-year-old has won one cap for New Zealand and was one of the leading candidates to act as cover for All Blacks No.10 Dan Carter during the Tri-Nations and World Cup. But he is now set to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season after scans confirmed his jaw was broken in a clash with Michael Lipman during the Highlanders' victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Friday.

Slade will undergo surgery on Saturday while his teammates return home to prepare for the second leg of their southern derby against the Crusaders in Nelson on Saturday. If the injury is as serious as feared he will have limited opportunities to impress before the World Cup opens on September 9.

"He's a key player for us and also a key player for the All Blacks .... it's really disappointing," said Highlanders head coach Jamie Joseph.

Highlanders general manager Roger Clark said the break - which is on the opposite side to the previous one - was likely to require a long recovery. "You couldn't get much unluckier, it is both sides now," he said. "Based on the last time, the recovery time for a broken jaw is six to eight weeks and I don't think after a second one they will want to take too many chances. That is the season for him really."

The fly-half, who made an impressive debut off the bench in Sydney last year as the All Blacks recovered to beat the Wallabies 23-22, suffered his first jaw fracture against the Blues in a pre-season trial - an injury that only enabled him to make his first appearance for the Highlanders against the Brumbies a fortnight ago.

Choosing Carter's understudy remains a priority for All Blacks coach Graham Henry. Despite his belated start to the inaugural Super 15 Slade was seen as a front runner to back-up Carter ahead of Aaron Cruden, Stephen Donald, Mike Delany, Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister.

Cruden has battled for game time alongside Daniel Kirkpatrick at the Hurricanes this season and neither Delany nor Donald have not yet displayed compelling form for the Chiefs.

Brett has been effective for the Blues while McAlister, currently outside him at second five-eighths, has 30 tests worth of experience and on the improve after a disappointing return to New Zealand rugby in 2009.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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