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All Black Quinn Tupaea ruled out for nine months after Darcy Swain cleanout

This article was originally published on Stuff and is reproduced with permission

All Blacks and Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupia has been out of rugby for nine months after an ugly cleanup by Wallabies lock Darcy Swain in the first Bledisloe Test.

It was initially thought that Tupia would not require surgery and would only have three months to spare, but the All Blacks announced Thursday that the fresh scan showed extensive damage to his ACL.

Tupaea will miss Super Rugby Pacific and will now face a race for fitness and form ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

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Swain had lifted a six-week ban for the incident, but would only miss three Tests as Rugby Australia controversially named him in the Australia A squad for their three-match series against Japan.

The All Blacks will be furious at the revised diagnosis, which will change their long-term thinking about their midfield selections.

“We’ve got a big issue with it,” coach Ian Foster said of the incident after the Test in Melbourne.

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“We have a player who has been dismissing (Tupia) for nine months and you are not allowed to target the feet on the side to cleanout the ball, so the rules are very clear.”

All-black legends Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith shared their coach’s frustrations in the days following the Bledisloe opener.

“I feel for Quinn,” Barrett said.

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“He basically didn’t see it coming. He was a sitting duck… It was a free shot.

“I feel for him because he’s going to be out of the game for a long time and I’m not sure what’s going on with Darcy Swain in his camp. We don’t like to see injuries like this.”

Smith also indicated that the nature of the incident had left a bitter taste in the All Blacks camp.

“It was hard seeing Quinn like this on Friday,” he said.

“You always feel for the brothers. Injuries happen in rugby, but some can be controlled.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rainey initially questioned whether the incident even deserved the yellow card that was shown to Swain on the night.

“I’m not convinced about Darcy (yellow card),” Renee said.

“It was certainly nothing intentional. Ironically, he twisted his neck before cleaning up, but was not picked up.”

However, Renee later changed her opinion after a judicial process in which Swain was banned for six weeks.

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The All Blacks are already battling injuries in midfield, while Anton Lienert-Brown has not returned from a serious shoulder injury, while Jack Goodhue has been battling a long-term knee injury.

The All Blacks used Jordi Barrett at number 12 in a 40–14 win against the Wallabies last weekend, and Tupia news could prompt Foster to move the Hurricane star to a permanent midfield role.

The All Blacks will name their squad for their season-ending tour against Japan, Wales, Scotland and England on 9 October.

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Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be extremely disappointed to lose a vital weapon for the entire season.

Though he has decent depth of field along with Liert-Brown, Alex Nankiwell and Rameka Pohippy, none gives Tupeya the power to carry the ball.

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