Nick Evans’ chances of Blues selection this weekend will depend on the results of psychometric testing to gauge his recovery from concussion.
Wynne Gray writes in the NZ Herald that if the Blues playmaker is not cleared, coach David Nucifora will have to balance the merits of using regular centre Isaia Toeava as a stopgap or requesting permission to draft development squad five-eighths Lachie Munroe in to cover the crisis.
Alternate five-eighths Isa Nacewa is some weeks away from playing after damaging knee ligaments in South Africa.
Evans was concussed on Saturday when he was caught by teammate Nick Williams’ elbow in a tackle. He was taken to hospital for x-rays to assess the pain in his arms and neck but was cleared of any structural damage. If Evans is forced to sit out this week’s game against the confident Stormers, it will ramp up the pressure on the Blues who have had successive defeats to the Sharks and Force.
Toeava looked uneasy at five-eighths marshalling the defensive line while his tactical kicking needs work.
Nucifora has only made changes on the wing and for the injured Nacewa in the side’s five matches this season and was adamant the Blues were not suffering from any fatigue in their faltering 27-17 defeat to the Force at North Harbour Stadium.
The coaching staff did not make any substitutions until late in the match which suggests they believe their reserves are better suited to cover for injury than to deliver impact.
Openside flanker Daniel Braid played 30 minutes of the curtainraiser and will come into contention this weekend after months out of the game recovering from shoulder surgery. The Blues will need both Braid and Justin Collins to contend with Stormers flanker Schalk Burger.
But there are other pressure points where the Blues are struggling. Halfback Danny Lee is distributing but not asking any other questions while Ben Atiga started well at fullback but his play then fell away. Joe Rokocoko was also quiet against the Force and then melted away when he damaged a hand.Tweet