THIS is the horrific moment Highlanders star James Lentjes suffered a sickening broken leg during their 28-22 Super Rugby defeat to the Melbourne Rebels.
The 29-year-old is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after he left the field on a stretcher following an awkward fall while being cleaned out of a ruck.
But the Rebels, who were on the attack at the time, were hailed for their sportsmanship as they instantly stopped play for Lentjes to receive treatment.
The Highlanders skipper was left writhing in agony on the ground after his foot got trapped as he was pushed away from a ruck.
Sickeningly, Lentjes's ankle went a separate way to the rest of his leg and play was immediately waved off before the flanker was stretched away.
Speaking on commentary, All Blacks great Justin Marshall said: “Oh no, you don’t want to look at that people.
“He’s in a lot of trouble and you can understand why referee Paul Williams has gone immediately to the medical team.
“Very unpleasant and we really feel for James Lentjes and hopefully they can really get his pain under control very quickly, it’s definitely a break.”
This is a sad way to see such a fine player leave the field James Lentjes and it’s great to see the Rebels, almost to a man coming across
Shaken Hurricane players soon formed a huddle to come to terms with their captain's injury, but praise was reserved for how Rebel stars handled the situation.
Marshall added: “We’re all about player safety in the modern game and this is a horrendous issue and I’m very happy we’re doing the right thing for the game.
“It’s more important than what’s happening in the match.”
Veteran Kiwi commentator Tony Johnson agreed and echoed his sentiments.
He said: “This is a sad way to see such a fine player leave the field James Lentjes and it’s great to see the Rebels, almost to a man coming across.
“This is great sportsmanship from the Melbourne Rebels.”
Lentjes was taken to hospital and is set to undergo surgery as soon as possible.
The Highlanders, who were already 21-7 down at the time of the horror injury, ultimately went on to suffer their first defeat at home an Australian team since 2014.
Two runaway tries to winger Andrew Kellaway helped the Melbourne side claim a first Super Rugby win in Dunedin.
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