All Black second five-eighth Quinn Tupaea has opened up about his recovery from the ACL injury he suffered in last year’s Bledisloe Cup clash in Melbourne.
The 23-year-old was competing a ruck when Wallabies lock Darcy Swain took a low angle to clean him off the ball, hitting the knee area which caused Tupaea to collapse awkwardly with two other Wallabies on top of him.
Tupaea suffered a serious knee injury as a result which has put his World Cup hopes in jeopardy and six months through the recovery he revealed to 1News he still holds resentment over the incident.
The cleanout caused multiple ligament damage and a torn ACL which has been a painful process to recover from, resulting in lingering feelings of anger and resentment for the No 12.
“I’m still pretty angry about it,” he told 1News.
“It’s been tough to let it go – I wouldn’t wish this injury on anyone.
“It’s a terrible injury to go through. It’s probably going to be a long time before I can let it go.
“The start was pretty slow and painful… The first six weeks I struggled to leave the bed and the couch.
“I was stuck at home, I didn’t leave the house for six weeks.”
Swain was yellow carded at the time for the incident and handed a six-week suspension for the dangerous play.
The Chiefs midfielder has only just returned to jogging and will still miss the entire 2023 Super Rugby season leaving him in a race against the clock to be available for the Rugby World Cup.
The 14-Test All Black will return to NPC action with Waikato in July in a bid to push for selection but holds doubt over whether he has enough time to do so.
“Before I got injured, obviously, it was my goal to go to the Rugby World Cup but with the All Blacks’ midfield stock at the moment, it’s pretty congested and I’ll be playing no Super Rugby,” he said.
“I’ll be back in time playing for when the World Cup is around but whether I make it… I’m not sure.”
As a result of injuries to Tupaea and David Havili, who was forced off early in the same clash in Melbourne, the All Blacks coaches moved fullback Jordie Barrett into the midfield where he has played since.
The centre partnership of Barrett and Rieko Ioane finished the year as the All Blacks first-choice option.
All of the All Blacks’ most experienced midfielders, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue and Havili, remain sidelined with various injuries but all are expected to return to play ahead of the All Blacks Rugby Championship campaign.
Blues second five-eighth Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is also injured with a hand injury and is expected to miss a month of action.