New Zealand worldwide Damian McKenzie set to miss World Cup with injury

New Zealand worldwide Damian McKenzie set to miss World Cup with injury

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen announced that McKenzie injured his right knee during the Waikato Chiefs' 33-29 Super Rugby win over Auckland Blues on Saturday.

Their prolific and versatile fullback Damian McKenzie has been ruled out for the tournament in Japan later this year after confirmation he's ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

McKenzie, who plays at fullback or flyhalf, has been a key figure in the two-playmaker structure New Zealand has fostered in recent seasons.

"He [Moli] is a player that we're really interested in and we just want to see where he's at", Hansen said.

He suffered the injury early in the second half when attempting a tackle on first-five Otere Black, and looked to be favoring his right knee when hobbling off. It creates another opportunity for somebody else.

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"We've got to expect injuries and there'll be more than just him, I suggest, by the time we finally name the team to go to the World Cup", Hansen said. McKenzie left the field with the help of a Chiefs medic but seemed in serious distress.

Since making his debut in 2016, McKenzie has scored 12 tries in his 23 test appearances, and while his best performances have come at full back, he was a viable cover option at outhalf, behind Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga.

Hansen said the selectors had made a decision to invite only players involved in the All Blacks' 2018 campaign.

The Rugby World Cup door may still be ajar for Ma'a Nonu despite being excluded from the All Blacks' "foundation squad".

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