The injury-prone Ethan Blackadder has suffered yet another setback in his Crusaders and All Black journey, Scott Robertson announcing Wednesday that the flanker injured his quad within minutes of taking the field in the Crusaders’ quarter-final win on Saturday.
It was an unbelievable sight for the home crowd as the relentless nine-time All Black went down clutching his leg, having just returned from a calf strain that kept him sidelined since March.
The initial evaluation looked to be precautionary as Blackadder walked off the field, leaving the Crusaders to finish the game with just 13 men.
However, Robertson confirmed Wednesday that while the timeline for Blackadder’s recovery is unclear, it would be “many weeks” before he was cleared for any game time.
“He did a good job, as Ethan tends to do with it. We really feel for him, he trained so hard to get back, just his couple of little touches in that four minutes was pretty amazing… just shows what we’ve missed.”
Blackadder’s name wasn’t the only one missing from the Crusaders’ Sem Final team announcement, lock Sam Whitelock is also out while nursing his Achilles injury. Lock Zach Gallagher also suffered a calf injury against the Drua and will be absent in the Semi-Final.
The All Black pair join Joe Moody, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Sevu Reece, David Havili and Cullen Grace as New Zealand representatives out of action for the Crusaders’ playoff run.
The uncompromising nature of Blackadder’s on-field intensity was discussed on this week’s Aotearoa Rugby Pod episode, where Joey Wheeler praised Blackadder’s mentality as his biggest strength but also his biggest liability.
“The way he plays the game,”Wheeler said. “That (injury toll) is just a by-product of the style of footy player he is. He is rip, sh*t and bust. He has a complete disregard for his body and I think he is going to be in the triage ward a bit throughout his career.
“But he is the ultimate professional, super resilient and he always comes back bigger and stronger and a better rugby player for it.”
Teammate Quinten Strange finds himself again in the starting lineup in Sam Whitelock’s absence and commented on Blackadder’s tireless recovery work.
“He’s sitting in meetings with his foot in an ice bucket and all sorts,” Strange said. “He’s doing everything, and I really hope, for his sake, we can get the job done, and he gets the chance to wear the jersey one more time.”
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