Coltman available for Otago

Liam Coltman
Liam Coltman
Hooker  Liam Coltman will be available to play for Otago this week but halfback Josh Renton is set for a significant stint on the sideline.

The All Blacks released a list of players who will play for their province in this week's round of the Mitre 10 Cup.

Coltman, who is filling the third spot in the All Blacks while Dane Coles continues his comeback from a knee injury, has been released by the national team and will be available to play for Otago in its game against Manawatu.

The hooker has not played for Otago since 2016 after missing all of last year for Otago because of an ankle injury.

Coltman will be in need of a run, having last played for the Highlanders in their quarterfinal more than a month ago.

All Black outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder has been released from the All Blacks and is likely to turn out for Manawatu in the match in Palmerston North on Saturday afternoon.

The All Blacks next play on September 9, when they will take on Argentina in Nelson.

Renton injured his thumb in the match against Hawke's Bay at Forsyth Barr Stadium and the thumb was in a cast yesterday. He is expected to have surgery this week and it is up in the air whether he will be back for Otago this season.

With the short turnarounds in the competition, and everyone playing a midweek match, the games march on quickly and the regular season will be finished in just over six weeks.

Otago has back-up halfbacks in its squad in Taieri halfback Kurt Hammer and Harbour halfback Melani Matavao. Both are inexperienced at this level though, and neither have started a game for Otago.

Matavao has been selected for the Samoan squad for the Pacific Nations Cup in June and played for Samoa in its tour of the northern hemisphere last year.

Utility back Michael Collins was back training yesterday. He picked up a very minor fracture to his cheekbone in the pre-season game of three halves in Christchurch.

His experience has been greatly missed, and when he will get back on the field is still unclear.

Lock Josh Larsen (elbow) and flanker James Lentjes (neck) are still a significant time away from getting back on the field.

 

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