Mikaele-Tu’u joins Highlanders injury list

Marino Mikaele-Tu’u. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Marino Mikaele-Tu’u. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Highlanders have been dealt another injury blow as they prepare to cross the Ditch.

Big No 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u has been sidelined for four to seven weeks after suffering a fractured rib during his team’s Super Rugby Pacific opener on Saturday.

Mikaele-Tu’u left the field two minutes into the heavy 60-20 defeat to the Blues, but still managed to put in a big hit and stop the game while being injured.

Head coach Clarke Dermody said that attitude showed what the team meant to him.

"He’ll definitely be missed.

"Bit of a shame for Marino because he’d had a great pre-season, obviously a key player for us in that eight position."

Winger Jona Nareki — who has been plagued by knee injuries in recent seasons — was a late withdrawal from Saturday’s game, and is out for four to six weeks to rest a stress response injury to his foot.

"Again, another player that was looking awesome in the pre-season, did everything he could to be back ready for us and then unfortunately his foot just flared up."

There is good news on the horizon though — towering lock Fabian Holland, Hugh Renton and Fetuli Paea are hopefuls to return to full training next week.

After a disappointing performance against the Blues, the Highlanders reviewed the game yesterday to prepare for a quick turn around against the Crusaders during the Melbourne Super Round on Friday.

"We know that we can’t really gift the Crusaders opportunities.

"Hopefully the boys have taken it on board and we have a good couple of days preparation."