Cruden clings to slim RWC hopes
Wellington - New Zealand flyhalf Aaron Cruden is still clinging to what he admits are slim hopes of playing at this year's Rugby World Cup despite suffering a serious knee injury playing for the Chiefs last Friday.
The 26-year-old, who started eight tests in the number 10 shirt for the All Blacks last year, is to undergo knee reconstruction after scans on Monday showed he had ruptured ligaments in his left knee.
The normal period of recuperation from such an operation is six months, meaning he is unlikely to be fit to play until the back end of the Sept. 16-Oct. 31 World Cup in England.
Cruden is well aware, though, that fourth choice flyhalf Stephen Donald was famously called up from a fishing trip on the Waikato River to steer New Zealand to victory in the 2011 World Cup final.
Donald replaced Cruden, who had suffered a knee injury, for the last hour of the title decider at Eden Park after Dan Carter and Colin Slade had both succumbed to injuries earlier in the tournament.
"I haven't completely ruled out making the World Cup," Cruden told local media.
"Looking at the last World Cup there were a few injuries and guys getting called in late so I guess, all going well with my rehab and my recovery ticks along nicely, then who knows what can happen.
"But at this stage I can't put all my energy into that - I just have to make sure I go up to Auckland on Wednesday, see the surgeon and make a plan from there and attack it step by step."
Cruden said he initially thought he might be able to run off the injury he sustained in the Chiefs' impressive 26-9 victory over the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch.
"It wasn't a contact injury, I was just running, propping off to change direction and (it was like I) was struck down by a sniper," he added.
"I've had a couple of days to get my head around it and I still don't really know if it's sunk in.
"I just have to put my A into G and focus in on getting back as quick as I can and contributing to this team here at the Chiefs and down with the All Blacks if they need me in any way as well."