Damian McKenzie ruled out of Rugby World Cup with knee injury

Ruben Hill
April 15, 2019

Speaking to reporters a few minutes ago, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it is a shame for McKenzie and the All Blacks but injuries do occur.

Hansen described Nonu's return to the Blues and goal of making another World Cup four years after his last test as "brave" and said the selectors would have some hard decisions to make around the make-up of the midfield if the veteran's good form continued.

Nonu on the charge for the Blues against the Chiefs.

He was picked as one of the 41 players to attend today's All Blacks foundation day in Wellington, and was highly likely to be one of the three first-fives selected for the World Cup, along with Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.

He returned to New Zealand late a year ago and signed with the Blues.

Hansen admitted he faces a headache at inside centre, given Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown and Ngani Laumape were also in excellent nick for their Super Rugby teams.

Nonu's form has not been lost on Hansen.

"He's just being Ma'a isn't he?"

"None of us knew what Ma'a was going to come back like", Hansen said. You're getting the subtle touches and you're getting the brutality.

"I just like the fact that he has been fearless enough to come back, and he will be considered like anybody else".

The late inclusion of Chiefs prop Moli, who is primarily a tighthead but can play loosehead too, could be an insurance against the loss of veteran Franks, who is in his final year with the side.

Nonu, 36, also took part in the 2003 World Cup, in the formative stages of a 103-Test career. "We've got to expect injuries and there will be more than just him I'd say".

"If he gets back and plays four or five games, bingo, he's going to play some good footy, isn't he?"

He was dropped for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but returned to become an All Blacks regular from 2008 until his departure for France.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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