Season-ending injury adds to All Black woes

The troubled All Blacks suffered a further setback on Wednesday when hooker Keven Mealamu was ruled out for the rest of the year with a ruptured chest muscle.

The 71-Test veteran was injured after he came on as a replacement in the Tri-Nations Test against the Springboks in Durban last weekend.

In a disappointing week for the All Blacks in South Africa they lost both Tests, failed to win even a bonus point, and were toppled from their world number one ranking.

They have now suffered three losses from six outings this year and are only halfway through the season. The last time they lost three Tests in a year was 2000.

The loss of Mealamu will put further pressure on the already depleted front row ranks with the Chiefs rake Aled de Malmanche likely to deputise for first-string hooker Andrew Hore.

All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said Mealamu had undergone a chest scan after returning from South Africa and it confirmed he had ruptured his pectoralis major tendon on the left side of his chest.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for Keven but he is in a positive frame of mind and will undergo surgery on Friday,” Robinson said.

The injury would keep Mealamu sidelined for the rest of the Tri-Nations as well as the All Blacks end of year tour.—AFP

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