Blues playmaker Nick Evans will return for the Bulls match this weekend. That was the latest bulletin from Eden Park but there had also been assurances Evans would play there on Saturday against the Stormers.
The Stormers claimed Evans was never going to start while Blues coach David Nucifora said the five-eighths was scrubbed only the day before the game when he showed signs he had not fully overcome his concussion.
Wynne Gray writes for the NZ Herald that Nucifora was adamant Evans would start round seven against the defending champions, the Bulls.
Without Evans or his injured deputy Isa Nacewa, the Blues had to turn to Isaia Toeava again and while he was a capable stand-in there was not the same flow about the backline or team rhythm which Evans has generated this season.
“Nick passed his psychometric testing and then we put him through a fairly substantial physical test as well and it was the day after the fitness test that he did not pull up as well as we would have liked and the medical staff were not too keen on him playing,” Nucifora said.
“Obviously with head knocks you don’t want to take those sorts of risks and he will be fine for next week now.”
The Blues had trained all week with Toeava at five-eighths but had always been hopeful Evans would recover after he copped an accidental elbow from teammate Nick Williams last week.
Williams was in the middle of more drama on Saturday when the No 8 left the field with a shoulder problem and other multiple minor damage.
The original plan had been for Justin Collins to replace openside flanker Daniel Braid after about 50 minutes of his return to top-level rugby but Williams’ injury meant Braid was forced to play the entire match.
“Braidy had to battle it out but he did a bloody good job in doing that,” the coach said.
Halfback Danny Lee might have aggravated an ankle injury but the staff felt everyone, except Nacewa, would be available for the next match against the titleholders.
“We will be looking for an improved performance there, far slicker than what we produced tonight,” Nucifora said.Tweet