Assistant coach Jason Ryan insists the “door’s not shut” for a Crusaders trio who missed out on the All Blacks’ squad for the Rugby Championship, including injured flanker Ethan Blackadder.
Blackadder entered the fray of international rugby back in 2021, and was more than impressive during his debut season in black.
The dynamic loose forward was a revelation for the national team – undoubtedly one of the finds of the season. Truly, it left fans questioning whether the All Blacks had found their next long-term No. 6.
But injury woes have proved problematic since.
After missing the entire Test season with the All Blacks last year, Blackadder also struggled to develop some consistency during the current Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
Blackadder hobbled off the field at Orangetheory Stadium during the Crusaders’ big win over the Brumbies earlier this season, and ended up missing a significant period.
The 28-year-old returned for the quarter-final against the Fijian Drua, but was dealt another cruel blow after just four minutes of gametime.
Blackadder left the field with a quad injury, and has been ruled out of the remainder of the Super Rugby Pacific season – the flanker will miss this weekend’s final against the Chiefs.
But Blackadder’s Rugby World Cup hopes are far from over.
Jason Ryan said the All Blacks need to “keep our options open” ahead of the most prestigious event in rugby union.
“The door’s not shut on Ethan,” Ryan told Newshub. “He’s had a reasonable injury, but the door’s not shut.
“The door’s not shut on anyone, unless they’re ruled out through injury for a long time.
“We’ve got to keep our options open, and keep connecting with people like that.
“Jack Goodhue’s another one, (as is) Dave Havili – they’re injured or have been injured in Jack’s case.
“We’re going to go deep in this World Cup. Injuries have shown that you’re going to need three or four (players per position).
“You’ve got to keep them on.”
The All Blacks kick-off their international campaign against Los Pumas in Mendoza early next month, before returning to New Zealand to face the Springboks in Auckland.