Fruean to undergo surgery
Wellington - Blockbusting Canterbury Crusaders midfield back Robbie Fruean has been forced out of the rest of the Super 15 season to undergo more heart surgery.
The 24-year-old announced Sunday he needs a further valve replacement as an ongoing effect of rheumatic fever which resulted in open-heart surgery four years ago.
Fruean's cardiac function has been slowly worsening throughout the season and his specialist has recommended further surgery.
"I noticed something wasn't right," Fruean said of his drop-off in form in the weeks leading up to the June break.
"I was just a lot more puffed and I've been doing a lot of extras post training and I was just wondering whether I was doing enough."
Team doctor Deb Robinson said it is likely to be six weeks before Fruean can start exercising again.
"While Robbie is facing major surgery he is otherwise fit and healthy which should stand him in good stead for his recovery," she said.
Fruean, a member of the 2007 World Champion New Zealand under-19 side, has played 61 Super 15 games.