All Blacks fly-half Cruden given all-clear


New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden has given a positive update on his condition after suffering a neck injury against Wales on Saturday, but Beauden Barrett could replace him in the third and final Test next weekend.

The Chiefs playmaker was carried off late in the first half and taken to hospital with what appeared to be a serious injury sustained following a tackle from Wales lock Luke Charteris at the Westpac Stadium.

Cruden underwent precautionary scans and the 27-year-old was able to link up with the squad once again after a 36-22 triumph which wrapped up the series with one match to spare.

And Cruden said in a post on New Zealand's Twitter feed on Sunday "I'm feeling a lot better today. Thank you for your support. We are looking forward to Dunedin."

Barrett came on to replace Cruden and played a starring role off the bench, scoring one try after laying on another on his home ground and Hansen hinted that he could be rewarded with a start next Saturday.

"Aaron's good. He got the all-clear from hospital last night. He came back and had tea here," Hansen said.

"He's a bit stiff and sore in the neck. We'll monitor him over the next few days to see whether he's going to be right to play next weekend but the hospital is very happy with it."

He added: "I think the bloke that came on last night did a pretty good job.

"We've got a good back-up in Lima [Sopoaga] coming off the bench, if we do it that way, or we can go the other way and put Lima in to start. Beauden probably deserves to get the opportunity."