Bird's All Blacks hopes dashed
Dominic Bird (Getty Images)
Wellington - New Zealand's lock problems have increased further with the promising Dominic Bird ruled out of contention for the French Test series with a shoulder injury.
The uncapped Bird, who had been widely tipped to be named Sunday in the All Blacks squad, left the field hurt during the Canterbury Crusaders' 23-22 defeat of the NSW Waratahs on Friday.
The Crusaders said the injury requires surgery and the 22-year-old is out for the remainder of the Super 15 competition.
"Following further medical assessment today the Crusaders can confirm that Bird has ruptured his left pectoralis major tendon and will require surgery later this week," the Crusaders statement said.
Bird was expected to be called into the All Blacks squad as the third lock behind Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick following the recent retirement of veteran Ali Williams from Test rugby and a finger injury to Sam Whitelock.
Crusaders back-rower Kieran Read, the likely All Blacks captain while Richie McCaw is on a sabbatical, suffered a head knock against the Waratahs and did not play in the second half of the match.
However, further medical assessment has confirmed the injury is not serious and he is available for the first Test against France in Auckland next Saturday.