Canes hooker suffers surgery blow
A wrist injury is set to sideline Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua for the next three months.
Aumua has had surgery on the fracture and faces six weeks in a cast. The Hurricanes then expect the 20-year-old to require a further six weeks rehabilitation.
The injury was suffered in the team’s 38-37 win over the Sharks and leaves them pretty thin at hooker. Captain Dane Coles is also out until July, at the earliest, with a knee injury, so Canterbury’s Nathan Vella has been drafted in as the Hurricanes’ third hooker, behind Ricky Riccitelli and James O’Reilly.
‘‘Whether he returns for playoffs, which hopefully he will be, we’ll be pretty happy with that,’’ Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree said of Aumua.
Aumua and Coles both attended Monday’s All Blacks ‘‘foundation’’ day in Wellington, even if neither are close to playing. On the Coles front, Plumtree said even a return in late July ‘‘was a bit of an unknown.’’
Eleven Hurricanes were at the foundation day, including halfback TJ Perenara and wing Nehe Milner-Skudder. One’s very near to a return to playing, while the other’s not due back until late June.
Perenara is able to do things such as lift weights, but his knee ligament injury will keep him out of footy for another four to six weeks.
‘‘Whether we see him before the June [test match] break, we’re not sure. Probably not,’’ Plumtree said.
In terms of the June break, the Hurricanes expect a ruling within a day or two about whether flanker Brad Shields will be free to play for England. Shields has sought a release from New Zealand Rugby, who are understood to be close to a decision.
Shields is regarded by the Hurricanes as an internationalcalibre player and they’ll happily release him for England’s games against South Africa, just as they would their All Blacks.
Milner-Skudder, meanwhile, will either play in Thursday’s Hurricanes Development XV game against Japan A in Levin, or when the Hurricanes host the Sunwolves at Westpac Stadium on Friday.
‘‘His return to play will probably be 20 or 30 minutes. It will either be off the bench for us, or a start up there [in Levin],’’ said Plumtree.
Milner-Skudder’s comeback from shoulder surgery will be offset by the absence of fellow wing Wes Goosen. He broke his jaw in the team’s 25-13 win over the Chiefs and faces six weeks out.
Second five-eighth Ngani Laumape definitely won’t play against the Sunwolves. He still needs his two All Blacksmandated weeks off, while first five-eighth Beauden Barrett and lock Vaea Fifita are both due another one.
A decision about whether Barrett or Ihaia West will play first-five on Friday is yet to be made.
Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua faces three months on the sideline, with a wrist injury.