Ma'a Nonu has an ankle problem and only took a limited part
Decisions on the fitness and availability of key
Highlanders will be made tomorrow as the side's injury list
shows no sign of decreasing.
With the Chiefs set to face the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr
Stadium on Friday night in the first game of the season, it
appears unlikely the home side will front with a
full-strength side to take on the defending champion.
Assistant coach Scott McLeod said there were still question
marks over several players and whether they would be able to
front on Friday.
Midfield back Phil Burleigh rolled an ankle in last Friday
night's game against the Blues in Queenstown and did not
Ma'a Nonu also has an ankle problem and only took a limited
part in training.
Fullback Ben Smith is struggling with a toe problem and did
not train. He has been in a moon boot for the injury but it
was hoped he could be available for the match on Friday
night. He did not play against the Blues.
Brad Thorn is struggling with a tight calf and stood on the
He injured the calf at training last week in Wanaka and also
did not play against the Blues.
Other players were nursing bruises from last Friday night's
game so it was a somewhat disrupted training session
yesterday. Young flanker Hugh Blake is facing a lengthy spell
on the sideline after dis-locating an AC joint against the
Blues on Friday night.
McLeod said it was hard to say how many of the players would
be right to front on Friday night.
''It is a bit early to say who will be available and a few of
the guys are still quite ginger after the game on Friday
night. We'll give them to Wednesday to see how they go,''
McLeod said yesterday.
McLeod said with all the injuries the team was not able to
get the intensity hoped for at training. Instead the squad
had concentrated on getting clarity around the team's game
plan going into Friday night's match.
The pre-season, which had produced a win and two losses, had
flown by for the team. One player who had come through the
pre-season with a clean bill of health was openside flanker
The Southland flanker had his season last year ruined by
injury and had played 50 minutes each in the previous two
''He still needs to work on his lines especially defensively.
But he is working really hard at that and is a pretty
experienced rugby player so we know it will come,'' McLeod