Luke Jacobson was having a dream 2019 after his dominant Super Rugby season by being rewarded to represent New Zealand in this year's World Cup. But the dream was shattered today.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and the team's doctor, Tony Page, made the decision together to rule Jacobson out of the tournament due to concussion symptoms from previous head knocks. Though the 22-year-old is set to recover, he was disappointed to be going back home.
“Think you guys could probably imagine how I’m feeling, its been tough pill to swallow," he told 1 NEWS today during a press conference in Japan.
“I just got to deal with it, get home. [The] support's been unreal from all the management, all the players and family back home as well.”
Coach Hansen showed disappointment but was adamant that Jacobson is talented and young enough that he'll see World Cup action in the future.
“Look at the other side: He’s 22-years-old, he’s been selected to come to a World Cup, so there’s a ringing endorsement that he’s got a outstanding career ahead of him,” Hansen said.
“The priority right now is to make sure we put him in a situation where he can recover back to being the rugby player that we know he can be.
“As I said, he’s 22 so he could get three more World Cups. But his health is the main important ingredient at the moment, so what was a tough decision really became a easy one.”
Hansen and Dr Page both emphasized that Jacobson’s health is the most important factor and not the depth of the All Blacks' loose forwards. Jacobson is expected to rest for the next three months.
“Our priority is his health, particularly his long-term health and we got to not get caught up in the context of the World Cup,” Dr Page said.