WELLINGTON (Reuters) – All Blacks prop Joe Moody will miss the remainder of the 2022 season after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament playing Super Rugby for the Canterbury Crusaders.
The powerful loosehead, who has played 57 times for New Zealand, sustained the knee injury against the Auckland Blues two weeks ago and will have surgery on the joint.
While the long lay-off raises a question mark over Moody’s hopes of playing at a third World Cup in France next year, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said it would be foolhardy to underestimate 34-year-old’s determination.
“Joe has got some grit in him,” Robertson told local media. “As we know, he can fight out of some pretty tough situations in those scrums. So, this is another tough situation for him to fight out of. We’re right behind him.”
Robertson also named his side for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney, giving All Blacks Ethan Blackadder, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor and George Bridge a rest.
Test backs David Havili and Will Jordan return to the squad after sitting out last week’s victory over the Melbourne Rebels, while openside flanker Tom Christie gets a start in the back row along with Pablo Matera and Cullen Grace.
The Crusaders, winners of 12 Super Rugby titles, are third in the standings after 10 rounds of the competition, three points behind the Blues and two points adrift of the ACT Brumbies.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, Editing by Peter Rutherford)