Slade ruled out for rest of the year
March 26, 2012
The injury-plagued Colin Slade suffered a broken ankle during his side's Super Rugby defeat to the Brumbies on Saturday © Getty Images
All Blacks fly-half Colin Slade has been ruled of the rest of the season after breaking his leg during the Highlanders' Super Rugby defeat to the Brumbies in Saturday.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph confirmed the extent of the injury suffered by his first-choice playmaker in the wake of a 33-26 loss in Canberra that brought an end to their four-game unbeaten start to the campaign.
"Colin's broken his fibula and his tibia. Clean break," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times. "They've inserted a rod from his knee to his ankle. He's going to be out for a whole year. That's terrible for Colin, after everything he's been through."
The injury is just the latest setback the 24-year-old Slade has suffered during a torrid 18 months. He broke his jaw twice last season and saw his Rugby World Cup campaign wrecked by a groin injury after he had stepped into the significant void left by an injured Dan Carter.
"He's had a real bad run, Colin," Joseph said following the game. "The poor guy's had two broken jaws, he's had two abductor operations, he's had a hernia operation and now his leg, all in the course of a year. I'm really feeling for him, more so him than the team really."
But Joseph has backed his side to bounce back from the loss of one of their key weapons. "We don't do things by halves in the Highlanders," he said. "The one thing I know about this group of guys is they are pretty tough. They'll bounce back. It's a long season. We've had a great start but now we've got to deal with some tough issues. I'm pretty proud of our guys. I think they've created something quite special down here."
Chris Noakes stepped into the fly-half role against the Brumbies and is in line to continue in the No.10 shirt when the Highlanders resume their campaign against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night although the identity of his back-up is unknown. "In the next 48 hours we have to find another first five from somewhere," said Joseph. "Anything's possible. We're going to have to scramble."
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