Super Rugby
Crusaders hit by pre-season injuries to key backline duo
January 14, 2016
Ryan Crotty (L) is likely to miss the opening few weeks of the Crusaders' season © Getty Images

Pre-season injuries have hit the Crusaders midfield, but coach Todd Blackadder says there's no need to panic.

Ryan Crotty and Robbie Fruean have both undergone surgery, Crotty for a thumb ligament tear and Fruean for a pectoral injury.

Blackadder says it looks like Crotty will miss the Crusaders' first two matches of the Super Rugby season, which begins on February 27 against the Chiefs in Christchurch.

Fruean's injury, from a pre-Christmas weight-training session, looks more serious and the utility back could be out for between eight weeks and three months.

Either way, Blackadder isn't too concerned.

"We're confident in the way we've recruited that we've got enough depth to cover those positions.

"We've got a few injuries we could focus on, but we're not. We're just going to focus on the guys that are fit and ready to go, and here to do the job for us," he said.

Blackadder is also casting his eye over a range of possibilities at first five-eighth, and says he's been impressed with the quality on show.

When it comes to goal kicking, however, Blackadder is keeping his options open.

Richie Mo'unga and Ben Volavola have shouldered the lion's share of kicking duties in training to date, but Nemani Nadolo and David Havili are also under scrutiny, as is Marty McKenzie as he works his way back from a hip injury.

"Goal kicking will be a big part of who we select and who's ready to go," Blackadder said.

"We've got five goal kickers just actively kicking every second day at the moment."


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