CHRISTCHURCH – All Blacks fly-half contender Richie Mo'unga may be sidelined for several weeks, it was feared Saturday, after the Canterbury Crusaders pivot suffered a suspected broken jaw.
Mo'unga was taken to hospital after colliding with Western Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff in the final minutes of the Crusaders' 45-28 win over the South African side in their Super Rugby clash in Christchurch.
"It was just a head clash," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said. "It was when their reserve prop scored, he (Mo'unga) took one on the chin. He sort of fell off that tackle when they scored."
Mo'unga, who played for the All Blacks against a France XV last year, is a leading contender to fill the void as New Zealand's number two fly-half behind Beauden Barrett following Lima Sopoaga's decision to move to English side Wasps after the Super Rugby season.
Before being forced from the field, Mo'unga scored a try and landed five conversions.
"It is a shame for him. It is similar to what happened last year isn't it?" Robertson added, in reference to Mo'unga being sidelined for six weeks in 2017 when he broke his left hand in the Crusaders' first game of the season against the ACT Brumbies.
The Crusaders, Super Rugby's defending champions, already have All Blacks Kieran Read, Matt Todd, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks, Joe Moody and Tim Perry unavailable because of injury.