Jerry Collins is on his way home from South Africa with bruised ribs, leaving the Hurricanes with just three specialist loose forwards to face the Cheetahs in Kimberley on Sunday.
Toby Robson writes in The Dominion Post that Collins left the field shortly after halftime during Sunday morning’s loss to the Stormers and was last night on a flight back to New Zealand as his teammates headed to a nearby township to train.
Hurricanes manager Tony Ward said last night Collins’ ribs were not broken, but were “extremely uncomfortable” after he aggravated an injury first suffered against the Bulls in Pretoria a week earlier.
“We managed him during the week, but he took a couple of blows against the Stormers and was already pretty sore.
“He took the ball up just after halftime and took another knock to the same injury and that was it.”
Ward said the decision to send such a senior player home was not taken lightly.
“He’s a big loss because he’s in our leadership group and one of our inspirational players.
“[But] he’s not available for Kimberley, so we thought the best course of action was [for him] to go home and get right for the Lions game in two weeks’ time.
“I’ve spoken to the medical team and it’s just a badly bruised rib. It’s very painful. He couldn’t breathe just after halftime, so that tells you how bad it is.”
Sanzar rules mean the Hurricanes are unable to call on a replacement player. Teams can only fly in a player if they have two injuries in the forwards, or the player is in a specialist position such as prop, hooker or halfback.
That means the Hurricanes head into the match against the Cheetahs with only three specialist loose forwards in Rodney So’oialo, Chris Masoe and Scott Waldrom.
Lock Jason Eaton is the loose forward cover and coach Colin Cooper will have to decide whether to hand him the No 6 jersey or start two opensides in Masoe and Waldrom.
Eaton pulled out of the Stormers match after injuring his back in the captain’s run, but has reportedly recovered well and will be available to play the 13th-placed Cheetahs.
Regardless of who plays, the Hurricanes will be desperate not to let it disrupt their preparation after dropping to sixth on the Super 14 points table.
The team trained yesterday in the Langa Village, gifting a set of old Hurricanes playing strips to the local Buzzy Bee Rugby Club in a township 15 minutes from the team hotel.Tweet