Cruden cleared of spinal injury

All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden has been cleared of serious injury following a frightening moment in the second Test win over Wales.

Five-eighth Cruden’s neck made a cracking noise when he fell awkwardly in a tackle from lock Luke Charteris in the 32nd minute of Saturday’s Test, won 36-22 by New Zealand.

There were fears he might have suffered serious spinal damage when it took medical staff more than 10 minutes to lift the 27-year-old onto a stretcher.

He was taken to hospital where scans delivered a positive prognosis, coach Steve Hansen said.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

“There was a bit of a crack but, by all accounts, there was nothing that was damaged from a broken point of view,” Hansen said.

“They’re doing a few other precautionary things at the moment but the word is he’s pretty good.”

It is unclear if Cruden, who missed most of the 2015 season with a serious knee injury, will be available for next week’s third Test in Dunedin.

Centre Malakai Fekitoa is also under an injury cloud on two counts.

He suffered a deep facial cut in the first collision of the game – a heavy meeting of heads with midfielder Jamie Roberts – and missed 15 minutes while he was assessed and stitched up.

He didn’t return in the second spell because of a leg injury, handing extended minutes to outside back reserve Seta Tamanivalu in his second Test.

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