Crusaders playmaking stocks suffer crushing blow

Super Rugby: The ACT Brumbies go down fighting against the Crusaders

Crusaders playmaker Richie Mo’unga will miss six weeks with a fractured hand.

THE Crusaders’ already-thin playmaking stocks have been further reduced by a serious hand injury to first-five Richie Mo’unga.

The 22-year-old Kiwi broke a bone in his left hand against the Brumbies on Saturday evening, but played through the pain barrier as his side held on to win their Super Rugby opener 17-13.

He made 13 carries and two line-breaks as the side’s playmaker-in-chief, but nailed just one from four with the boot.

He’ll miss at least the next six weeks, including two Kiwi derbies against the Highlanders and Blues, after undergoing surgery on Sunday.

“Surgery went well on my hand this arvo,” Mo’unga posted on Instagram.

“Obviously a bit gutted with the circumstances, but thankful for the support and the messages.”

Crusaders fly-half Richie Mo’unga will miss six weeks of action with a fractured hand.

Crusaders fly-half Richie Mo’unga will miss six weeks of action with a fractured hand.Source:Getty Images

Marty McKenzie, brother of All Blacks young gun Damian, is likely to take Mo’unga’s place at No. 10 after shifting southward from the Chiefs in 2016.

Elsewhere, new recruit Seta Tamanivalu has suffered a minor hamstring twang and may be in doubt for next week’s Highlanders tussle.

But Test openside Matt Todd, a late injury withdrawal against the Brumbies, is expected to play in Dunedin.

Crusaders No. 8 and All Blacks skipper Kieran Read will not return until mid- April, at least, after undergoing wrist surgery in the off-season.