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Cruden faces six months out of rugby

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Lynn McConnell     20 Apr 2015     Getty Images

The injury had occurred in open field play when he was running a support line and it happened when he propped off his left foot to change direction.

"There was a pop in my left knee," he said.

A scan on Monday revealed the rupture and he will have a knee reconstruction that will keep him out of rugby, and probably the Rugby World Cup, for six months. He was forced out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup when suffering an injury in his right knee.

"I wasn't too sure what it was when it happened. It wasn't too sore at the time and it is not sore now. When the medics came out I tried to run it off but when I put a little weight on the leg it didn't feel right," he said.

"It was hard to believe when I heard what it was initially. There was no swelling around the knee and it still feels reasonably strong. It felt like I had been struck down by a sniper.

"It was a pretty tough pill to swallow," he said.

Cruden said he was extremely disappointed and frustrated because he had several goals in mind this year, including helping the Chiefs to another Super Rugby title and he was hoping to play a major part in the All Blacks' World Cup campaign.

"I will have to re-evaluate my goals and set other ones and then get into my rehabilitation," he said.

Cruden said he hadn't completely ruled out a World Cup appearance, especially given the way players were injured late in the last World Cup but it would be a case of how his reconstruction and rehabilitation worked out.

His All Blacks team-mates had been made aware of his situation after an All Blacks leaders' meeting on Sunday and they had wished him a speedy recovery.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said he wasn't so much frustrated for his team as disappointed for Cruden.

He was a big cog in the side's opportunity to win a third Super Rugby title but the injury was what it was.

"It is a contact sport and you lose players," he said.

Rennie said he had an idea of who would play at first five-eighths this week in the Chiefs game against the Force in Hamilton.

"Marty McKenzie led Taranaki to a win in last year's ITM Cup and Damian McKenzie has played there for us this year.

"Andrew Horrell played there on Friday and Tim Nanai-Williams could play there but we have no firm ideas as year," he said.