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Nonu Out For June Tests

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Nonu Out For June Tests

Wellington, May 19 NZPA - All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu is out for the June rugby tests with a knee injury while teammate Andrew Hore could be gone for the season.

Nonu ruptured a posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Hurricanes' season-ending defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney last Friday.

A statement from the Hurricanes said Nonu wouldn't require surgery but wasn't expected to return to full training for six weeks.

That would rule him out of the All Blacks' tests against Ireland on June 12 in New Plymouth, and Wales on June 19 in Dunedin and June 26 in Hamilton, and make it touch and go for their Tri-Nations opener against South Africa on July 10.

The news was worse for Hurricanes teammate Hore, the first-choice All Blacks hooker, whose season could be over due to a dislocated shoulder suffered in Sydney.

Scans have revealed ligament and other soft tissue damage and an opinion on the need for surgery is now being sought, the Hurricanes said, but All Blacks coach Graham Henry said surgery was likely.

"(Hore) will be out for most of the year, I think he'll be touch and go for the end of year tour, it just depends what the recovery is like," Henry told TV3.

Blues hooker Keven Mealamu is the obvious starting No 2 for the June tests but there are headaches in Nonu's spot at second five-eighth.

Isaia Toeava was a leading contender but is out for at least a fortnight with a hip injury, while last year's European tourist Luke McAlister has struggled with form and injury in the Super 14. Another Blues midfielder, Benson Stanley, could loom into contention.

Said Henry: "We'd settled on a squad of 26 but there were a couple of grey areas there. But with the injuries in the latest round of Super 14 it obviously caused a rethink."

Other frontliners out are lock Ali Williams and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu, while fullback Mils Muliaina is a chance of returning from a broken thumb for the Ireland test.

"(Muliaina) will play club football next weekend and the following weekend, and hopefully will be in reasonable nick to play a test match after that. It's a big ask to play such limited rugby leading into a test match, but Tom Donnelly's in the same boat," Henry said.

Donnelly, a regular All Blacks lock last year, is sidelined with an ankle injury.

The All Blacks selectors are scheduled to name their 26-man squad on May 30.

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