(Reuters) - All Blacks winger Sevu Reece has been sidelined for the rest of the season by a serious knee injury sustained playing Super Rugby Pacific and will miss the World Cup in France later this year.
The Fijian-born back, who has played 23 tests for New Zealand and scored 15 tries, suffered the injury playing for the Canterbury Crusaders against the Auckland Blues two weeks ago.
"Sevu injured his knee and has had scans which have confirmed an ACL rupture and now he will undergo surgery to repair this," the Crusaders said in an injury update on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, this rules Sevu out of rugby for the rest of 2023."
Fortunately for All Blacks coach Ian Foster, quality outside backs are rarely in short supply in New Zealand.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, who will take over from Foster after the World Cup, said he was confident Reece would be able to get back to his best after the injury.
"It's a hard one, for him and the whole club because he is so important to us," he told reporters in Christchurch.
"Really feel for him. He's been incredible for us. A lot of hard work will get him back to where he was beforehand, a world-class wing."
Robertson already had a lengthy injury list at the Crusaders and All Blacks loose forward Ethan Blackadder was added to it this week after he tore a calf muscle in last Friday's clash with the ACT Brumbies.
Blackadder will be out for six weeks but there was better news for New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock, who is now scheduled to return from a broken hand in mid-April.
The Crusaders take on the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Friday in round six of Super Rugby Pacific.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)