Up-and-coming All Black star suffers long-term injury in Super Rugby clash

Up-and-coming All Black star suffers long-term injury in Super Rugby clash

All Blacks great Jeff Wilson is among those lamenting the injury to New Zealand's "form number nine" Cam Roigard in the Hurricanes' Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders.

The half-back was stretchered off during his side's 47-12 victory on Saturday and looks set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

Although an official prognosis has not been given, there are suggestions that Roigard has suffered a torn patella which usually means a six-month lay-off.

It is a huge blow for the scrumhalf, who could miss the rest of the Super Rugby Pacific campaign and the All Blacks' July series against England and Fiji, as well as the Rugby Championship double-header against the Springboks in South Africa starting in August.

Following Aaron Smith's departure to Japan, the 23-year-old was the favourite to take the All Blacks No 9 jersey for the 2024 Test season.

"It's devastating for him, he was in such good form," Wilson said on The Breakdown. "The impact he had last year (for the All Blacks), there's no doubt he was clearly going to be in the conversation this year (for national selection).

"I think he was the form number nine in Super Rugby. Let's let things play out but if we think worst-case scenario, the Hurricanes have lost a really big part of their game plan, of their attack, of their threats.

"Look, they're still very, very good and you've got TJ Perenara, but you're missing a lot now that Cam Roigard is probably likely to be out for a long time."

Sir John Kirwan was similarly disappointed for Roigard, with the former All Blacks wing likening him to the great Antoine Dupont.

"Antoine Dupont changed how half-backs play and I think Cam is that," Kirwan said. "I always talk about a passing half-back and a running half-back, he's got the combination and he's so strong around the ruck.

"I thought he was putting his hand up as the number one half-back."

With Smith effectively ending his international career and Roigard likely to be on the sidelines, that leaves Finlay Christie as the likely number one scrumhalf for the England series.

It also raises doubts about the All Blacks' depth in the half-back department, but Mils Muliaina feels they have more than enough options.

"The way he's been playing, he was the form half-back. Man, this is a massive blow for the Hurricanes," Muliaina said.

"Am I worried about our (half-back) stocks? Not necessarily. I think we've still got plenty around if we're talking about the bigger picture. If he's out for the rest of the year, I think there's still enough there.

"Finlay Christie's still available, Folau Fakatava's around. I think TJ Perenara's come back in a different nick, he looks better. Physically, it's like he's trimmed down. I think he'll be hungry."

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