The Crusaders have confirmed All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has a broken thumb and could be out of action for up to eight weeks in a massive blow to their struggling Super Rugby campaign.
McCaw broke the thumb in last night's 35-24 loss to the Blues in Auckland, the Crusaders' second defeat in as many games.
McCaw didn't reappear for the second half of the match at Eden Park and x-rays later confirmed the break to his left thumb. He now has his hand in a cast.
An update is expected on Monday when the Crusaders will reveal whether surgery is required or not.
McCaw was back in the thick of Super Rugby after missing most of last season when he took a sabbatical from rugby.
The Crusaders have an able replacement in Matt Todd but McCaw's leadership and influence will be sorely missed on the field as they look to turn around their shocking start.
Losses to the Chiefs and the Blues see them bottom of the New Zealand conference, yet to register a point on the table.
McCaw's absence could be softened by the Crusaders having two byes during this eight-week playing period.
But they still face a tough schedule that features matches against the Stormers, Rebels, Hurricanes, Lions, Cheetahs and Chiefs.
McCaw may not be back until the round 12 clash with the Brumbies in Christchurch on May 3.
- Fairfax Media
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