Despite a thrilling contest in Wellington for fans, All Blacks management won’t be as buzzed about the Crusaders’ golden point win over the Hurricanes with multiple stars injured in the match.
The Crusaders returned to the winners’ circle yesterday afternoon with an electric 30-27 victory but suffered serious-looking injuries to centre Jack Goodhue and prop Joe Moody in the process.
In the 20th minute, Goodhue suffered a leg injury when he clashed with teammate Bryn Hall attempting a tackle on Hurricanes centre Peter Umaga-Jensen.
Goodhue was helped from the field by medical staff after the awkward collision.
Four minutes later, Moody had his 100th Crusaders cap marred when he limped off the park with an apparent ankle injury he sustained in an attacking scrum.
Moody returned to the Crusaders’ sideline in the second half but was in a moonboot.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson conceded both injuries looked serious, in his own humorous way.
"It was a knee for Jack and plantar flexion [foot] for Joe after the scrum,” Robertson said.
"The scan will define that, but look, I didn't get through Otago University, so I can't be a doctor."
Robertson said the higher rate of injuries recently isn’t surprising him, with the competition’s intensity heating up in recent weeks.
"I feel like the intensity, the physicality, the contacts are massive… it's a brutal game."
The Hurricanes’ loss was made worse by the potential loss of captain and All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea who picked up a knee injury.
"Some of the boys were hurting after last week, none more so than the captain," Hurricanes coach Jason Holland says. "He was awesome in that first 40, then gutsing it out until about the 60-minute mark.
"We're trying to figure out how bad it was. I've tried to be a medic a lot of times this season and I'm not great at it, but it was encouraging to see him soldier through.
"We watched him pretty closely when he first did it to see if he could run, and he really accelerated and changed direction off that knee a few times. We're hopeful, but he's pretty sore right now."
One positive for the Hurricanes is that they have a bye this week, giving them more time to assess and help Savea recover before they play the Chiefs on April 23.
It’s not as bright at the All Blacks camp though with captain Sam Cane ruled out for the season earlier this month as well and promising Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava also gone for the remainder of 2021.