WELLINGTON (Reuters) - All Blacks utility back Israel Dagg is facing another spell on the sidelines after he injured his right knee in the Canterbury Crusaders’ 21-8 victory over the ACT Brumbies on Saturday.
Dagg missed the tail end of the All Blacks’ test programme last season to have a second surgery on the same knee which he had initially injured earlier in the year.
The 29-year-old was caught in a high tackle by Brumbies winger Chance Peni on Saturday and fell awkwardly with his right knee pinned underneath him.
He was taken off for a head injury assessment, which he failed and did not return to the field.
Peni was given a yellow card for the tackle, but governing body SANZAAR has since said a citing commissioner ruled the incident warranted a red card and charged him to face a disciplinary hearing.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said the team, who are staying in Australia to prepare for Friday’s match against the Melbourne Rebels, had always planned to send Dagg home after the Brumbies game because his wife was due to give birth to their second child.
He would now need more scans on the knee.
“Our thoughts are with him, because he has worked so bloody hard to get back,” Robertson told New Zealand’s Stuff Media.
“Now we just hope it is only a little tweak and that he is only out for a few weeks.”
The All Blacks squad for the three-test series in June against France at home is due to be named on May 20, with Dagg chasing a spot in a crowded back three.
Ben Smith, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett and Waisake Naholo are likely to be in the squad, with Nehe Milner-Skudder also in contention after coming back from shoulder surgery while the uncapped Ben Lam and Solomon Alaimalo loom as wild card picks.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly