Aaron Cruden: All Blacks fly-half despair at injury

Aaron Cruden
Cruden overcame testicular cancer as a teenager to represent his country and Waikato

New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden said it was a "tough pill to swallow" after learning he could miss the Rugby World Cup through injury.

The 26-year-old, capped 37 times, tore cruciate ligaments in his left knee while playing for Waikato Chiefs.

He will have a knee reconstruction and is expected to be out for six months.

New Zealand's first match at the World Cup - against Argentina at Wembley - will be played on 20 September, with the final on 31 October.

"I wasn't too sure what it was when it happened," said Cruden, who told the All Blacks websiteexternal-link he had not given up hope of playing at the World Cup.

"It was hard to believe when I heard what it was. There was no swelling around the knee and it still feels reasonably strong.

"It felt like I had been struck down by a sniper."

Cruden, who has scored 280 points for the All Blacks, made his most recent international appearance in the 24-21 win over England in November.

He was the starting fly-half for New Zealand's 2011 World Cup final triumph after Dan Carter and Colin Slade sustained injuries.

Cruden went off in the first half of the 8-7 win over France with a knee injury, leaving Stephen Donald - who had been on a fishing holiday at the start of the tournamentexternal-link - to kick the decisive penalty.