The Blues’ locking stocks have taken another hit with veteran Tom Donnelly ruled out of Friday’s match against the Brumbies in Canberra with a calf strain.
Donnelly was on the bench for Saturday’s match against the Highlanders but did not get on after straining his calf during the warm up.
With Culum Retallick ruled out for the season with an ACL rupture and Patrick Tuipulotu currently sidelined with a knee injury, it leaves the Blues light on locks.
Tom Murday has returned from a knee injury however he is likely to play club rugby in Northland this week, with Steven Luatua the most obvious option to provide locking cover if required.
All Black midfielder Francis Saili will provide a real boost as he makes his return from a stress injury this week, while his brother Peter’s mid foot sprain will be examined today however it is hopeful he will also be available.
Hooker Keven Mealamu, who suffered a calf strain while in South Africa, is progressing slowly and he will start doing some field-based running this week.
He is hopeful of returning for the Blues’ round 10 clash with the Hurricanes.
Halfback Jamison Gibson-Park (stress injury) is also targeting the Hurricanes game to make his return, with Northland’s Sonatane Takulua continuing to train with the team this week.
Baden Kerr had surgery last week on his third and fourth finger fractures and will be sidelined for a significant period of time.