All Blacks and Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor ruled out for a month with broken finger

2019-05-23 09:01:31

Don't expect the Crusaders to field their All Blacks front row anytime soon.

Overshadowed by the independent investigation hanging over some Crusaders players, hooker Codie Taylor fractured the index finger on his right-hand against the Stormers last weekend.

A Crusaders spokeswoman confirmed to Stuff that Taylor was expected to be sidelined for about four weeks, meaning he won't feature again during the Super Rugby regular season.

Following games against the Blues (home), Chiefs (away) and Rebels (home), the Crusaders have a bye in the final round of the regular season. They are guaranteed to host a quarterfinal the following week.

That's the earliest Taylor can be expected to return. Whether or not he will line up next to fellow All Blacks Joe Moody and Owen Franks remains to be seen.

The three are yet to start together this season, largely due to injuries, but also in part to All Blacks enforced rest weeks.

It was hoped Franks, who has been sidelined since injuring his right-shoulder on April 6, would be ready to return against the Chiefs in Suva next weekend.

However, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson on Thursday confirmed it might be too soon, meaning he might only get one run - against the Rebels - before the playoffs.

All Black loosehead Tim Perry, who busted his arm in round one against the Blues, is also a small chance to return against the Rebels.

Moody, who missed two weeks due to an ankle injury earlier this year, sat out last week's 19-19 draw with the Stormers in Cape Town with a nasty gash to his left-knee, but has recovered in time to play the Blues this weekend.

Taylor's broken finger follows the calf niggle which kept him from playing against the Brumbies and Highlanders in rounds eight and nine respectively.

Given he sat out the first three weeks of the season while on extended All Blacks leave, the 28-year-old has only played seven games (six starts) this campaign.

Andrew Makalio will start in his place against the Blues at Christchurch Stadium on Saturday night, with the uncapped Brodie McAlister on the bench.

Robertson also provided an update on utility back Will Jordan, who hasn't been sighted since limping off Christchurch Stadium with a foot injury against the Sharks three weeks ago.

Jordan has a mid-foot injury and is unlikely to feature again during the regular season. However, the Crusaders remain hopeful he will return during the post-season.

Crusaders to play the Blues on Saturday night: David Havili, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock (captain), Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Andrew Makalio, Joe Moody. Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Isi Tu'ungafasi, George Bower, Luke Romano, Ethan Blackadder, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Braydon Ennor.

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