Richie McCaw sidelined for six weeks
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said the worst thing about having a stress fracture on his right foot was that he was so desperately looking forward to starting to play again.
It was announced in Auckland today at the official launch of the new Super Rugby season that McCaw will need to have an operation on his right foot.
A stress fracture has been confirmed by a scan and he'll go under the knife in the next couple of days.
"I've got a stress fracture to my fifth metatarsal," confirmed McCaw, who'll again be the Crusaders captain this year.
"It's something that training has put a load on and it's going to require a screw to be put in there over the next few days so hopefully by Tuesday that will be done.
"It's going to mean it's about six weeks before I'm going to be playing again.
"It's something that's frustrating but it's not a major really.
"It's one of those things you've got to deal with and get myself ready to play again.
"I've just met the surgeon and he's decided to do that, so we'll get that done and get going again."
McCaw said it wasn't an option to delay having the surgery until later in the year, or having it done just as a precaution because of the World Cup later in the season.
"There was no real choice," he said.
"With or without the surgery there would have been time laid off and they've decided that's the thing to do.
"It's one of those things you've got to deal with, it's not ideal, I was feeling pretty good fitness wise and ready to go again, but I've got to deal with it.
"A lot of people have said to me that it's better to have happened now but I wanted to get stuck in for the Crusaders and get going for the year.
"But it's happened now, I guess with it being a big year I've got it out of the way and this is all we have to deal with.
"It's one of those things that can niggle so they've decided to get on it early and it should be alright."
McCaw said he was pumped about pulling on the red and black jersey again and finally embarking on what will be the biggest season of his life.
After spending the summer away from the sport for the summer months he couldn't wait to throw himself back into the rugby environment.
"I had a pretty good break and had been away from the rugby environment," he said.
but I got back into it last week and I was looking forward to throwing my body around again.
"But hopefully after a bit of time off I should be able to get back into it again soon."
In McCaw's absence the Crusaders are likely to use George Whitelock and Matt Todd playing in the flanker's positions and the team's coach Todd Blackadder could use them as a left and right combination as he did last year, rather than in the more traditional openside, blindside roles.
There is also Jonathan Poff to throw into the mix, so while they may miss McCaw's leadership, they do have depth in the squad to provide adequate cover.