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Injured Cruden in doubt for offshore Tests

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden is in doubt for the remainder of the Rugby Championship because of a niggling groin injury.

Cruden ended last week's Test win over Argentina in pain after aggravating the injury which affected him during the Chiefs' Super Rugby campaign.

He was replaced on the bench for Saturday's Test against South Africa in Christchurch by Lima Sopoaga, who is in line for his third Test.

Coach Steve Hansen says 27-year-old Cruden could be left home when the team travels to Buenos Aires and Durban for the last two Tests of the tournament in October.

"It may be that he doesn't come to Argentina and we just get the thing right so he's not bothered by it for the rest of the season," Hansen said.

It is another setback for the world class playmaker, who began the international season as New Zealand's starting first five-eighth but who has been usurped by the electric form of Beauden Barrett.

Chiefs team-mate Sam Cane (hamstring) will almost certainly miss the two offshore Tests while wing Waisake Naholo is likely to be included in the 32-strong tour squad despite missing the last three Tests with a hamstring injury.

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