Rugby: Paringatai out for six weeks

New Highlanders loose forward Jake Paringatai has broken his right hand and will be sidelined for six weeks.

Paringatai (32), who made his Super rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2007, came back from Japan to join Jamie Joseph's team this year.

''In the first half hour of training this year, someone landed on his hand and broke it,'' Joseph said.

''He turned up in really good nick.''

Paringatai made a big impact on Dunedin club rugby when he played for Southern a decade ago. He made his first-class debut for Northland in 2003.

Joseph said the Highlanders were looking for a fullback replacement because of the long-term injuries to Declan O'Donnell and All Black Tamati Ellison.

''Stocks are pretty low but no doubt we will find someone competent enough,'' Joseph said.

This would appear to indicate that regular fullback Ben Smith will play at centre, to replace Ellison.

Smith was groomed as an understudy to incumbent Conrad Smith on the All Blacks' recent northern hemisphere tour.

Argh

I'm with the other guys who are calling for Paul Grant. He should have been in the side from the get go. Kurt Baker would have been a perfect option to cover fullback but he's in the Crusaders wider squad. I very much doubt Ben Smith will play any time at centre when we have Treeby, Nonu, Burleigh and Emery all planning on playing some rugby this season and we now need a fullback replacement (after Tony Ensor that is?).

Keeping it PG!

Surely it's time for Paul Grant to be included in the squad!

No Paul Grant

My understanding is that Paul Grant wasn't even included in the wider training squad. That put my up to now unyielding loyalty to the Highlanders in question. This injury just emphasises the absurdity of that non selection. I hope Paul Grant has a huge lucrative contract somewhere else. He deserves it.