All Blacks’ in­jury woes

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLING­TON: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will be hold­ing his breath over the next few days as a num­ber of play­ers in con­tention to play the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions in June were all in­jured in the lat­est round of Su­per Rugby.

Winger Waisake Na­holo, full­backs Nehe Mil­ner-Skud­der and Is­rael Dagg, cen­tre Seta Ta­mani­valu and fly­half Lima Sopoaga all suf­fered leg in­juries for their re­spec­tive Su­per Rugby sides.

The in­juries to Na­holo and Sopoaga (both ham­strings) fur­ther added to the Otago High­landers grow­ing ca­su­alty list, with All Blacks vice-cap­tain Ben Smith also out with con­cus­sion.

“It doesn’t look good,” High­landers coach Tony Brown told re­porters in Auck­land of Na­holo and Sopoaga’s in­juries. “It looks like Lima will be out for a while; Waisake the same.

“They don’t come right overnight. Those guys are go­ing to be tough to re­place but we’ll have to wait and see on Mon­day.”

Lo­cal me­dia re­ported the duo could be out of ac­tion for up to six weeks.

Dagg, who al­ter­nated be­tween wing and full­back for the All Blacks last year, in­jured his knee in the Can­ter­bury Cru­saders 2220 vic­tory over the Queens­land Reds in Bris­bane and looked to be in con­sid­er­able pain.

Ta­mani­valu, who has played on the wing for the Cru­saders but made the All Blacks as a cen­tre, also suf­fered a ham­string in­jury dur­ing the first half of the match.

Mil­ner-Skud­der, who missed al­most all of last sea­son with a shoul­der in­jury, suf­fered an an­kle in­jury in the Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes’ 26-18 loss to the Waikato Chiefs on Fri­day and had to be helped from the field.

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