Some key Otago players to miss opener

Ben Herring
Ben Herring
Otago has picked up some injuries and will be without key players for the opening game of the season.

But coach Ben Herring said the injuries could have been much worse and he has taken positives out of the final pre-season game.

Otago took on a Canterbury XV and the All Blacks in Christchurch on Friday night. It had a comfortable victory over the Canterbury side but lost, as expected, to the All Blacks.

Fullback Michael Collins has fractured his cheekbone but it is not as serious as first thought.

It is a very minor fracture and it is hoped he will miss only the first few games, although there is no definite time frame.

There were fears he would be out for the season but he should make a return. Collins missed all of last year because of an injury to his leg,

Lock Josh Larsen dislocated his elbow in the game and Herring said it was difficult to say how long the second rower would be out for.

There were fears fellow lock Tom Rowe had broken his hand on Friday night but scans had found no break and he was back training yesterday. It is not the same hand he injured last year, which cut short his season.

Two players suffered head knocks on Friday. First five-eighth Josh Ioane will miss this week's game against Wellington but should be available for the following game.

Flanker Slade McDowall also picked up a head knock in Christchurch but he should be right for this weekend. The side trained yesterday and will continue this week as it prepares for its opening game of the Mitre 10 Cup in the capital on Sunday.

It is a tough first-up game for Otago. Wellington won promotion from the Championship to the Premiership last season.

Herring said he was impressed by the intensity shown in the 80 minutes the side played in the Game of Three Halves.

The players had made the most of the opportunity to face up to the All Blacks and had given as good as they got.

Otago beat the Canterbury XV 22-10 while the All Blacks beat Otago 32-0. The All Blacks beat a Canterbury XV 40-5 in the last 40 minutes played at AMI Stadium.


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