More injury trouble for Blues

first_imgAlready down a first five-eighth with Otere Black ruled out with a knee injury, the Blues will be without fellow number 10 Stephen Perofeta for up to six weeks after he broke his hand during his side’s pre-season win over the Chiefs last week.The Blues first match is less than three weeks away against the Highlanders meaning back up first-fives, Bryn Gatland and Dan Kirkpatrick, will fight it out for the starting spot.Head coach Tana Umaga confirmed they would not be bringing in a replacement for Perofeta, a 20-year-old who has shone at provincial level for Taranaki and is considered by many the future of the Blues franchise.”We’re unable to bring in players.”You have to have two injuries in the same position, and we don’t want that. We’ve got to look within the squad at who can cover there.”We’ve still got Bryn Gatland and Daniel Kirkpatrick, and this gives an opportunity for them. We’re very happy with the way all our players have been running, and they’ll get another week to cement some things, and we’ll see how that goes against the Hurricanes next week.”Umaga did not want to speculate on a potential return date for Perofeta, but there is no doubt is a sizeable blow to a squad already battling a raft of injury concerns.The Blues coach also ruled out the franchise making a play for former Wallabies No 10 Quade Cooper, who is on the outer at the Queensland Reds and has been spotted around Auckland in recent weeks.”We haven’t talked to him,” Umaga said.”That’s just speculation that comes with being part of a big city. I hear we’re in the market with a lot of players we haven’t been party to.”No, is all I can say really.”Meanwhile, the Blues also confirmed on Tuesday All Blacks Akira Ioane and George Moala will join former first-five Carlos Spencer in their team to contest the Brisbane Global 10s tournament this weekend.The 22-strong squad also includes teenage talent Caleb Clarke, who returns after playing for the New Zealand sevens team in the World Cup tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton.The Blues team will be led by 46-game Super Rugby loose forward-lock, Jimmy Tupou, and features a number of up-and-coming young players.”It is a good occasion which the players really enjoyed last year,” Umaga said.”We are going there to enjoy this opportunity and produce some good rugby.”At the same time it will play a key part in our preparations for the upcoming Super Rugby season and have some goals to achieve while the rest of the squad are preparing at home.”We are bringing some players who are exciting runners given some space and opportunity. We are keen to play a physical and open running game that will both effective and also attractive.”Players not considered for selection because of injury include Otere Black, Michael Collins, Blake Gibson, Matt Moulds, Perofeta, Kara Pryor, Matt Johnson, James Parsons, Jerome Kaino, Scott Scrafton, Leni Apisai, Josh Goodhue, Dan Kirkpatrick, Sione Mafileo, Isaac Salmon.Goodhue, Kirkpatrick and Perofeta received injuries in the pre-season game against the Chiefs, with Perofeta likely to be out for six weeks with a slight fracture in his hand, while Johnson will be replaced in the team for the season due to a medical condition.Blues team for Brisbane 10s: Caleb Clarke, Kurt Ecklund, Jordan Hyland, Akira Ioane, Antonio Kirikiri, Orbyn Leger, George Moala, Melanai Nanai, Sam Nock, Jordan Olsen, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, Marcel Renata, Jonathan Ruru, Hoskins Sotutu, Carlos Spencer, Michael Tamoaeita, Murphy Taramai, Tanielu Telea, Jordan Trainor, Tamati Tua, Jimmy Tupou (c).last_img

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