It looks as though the Chiefs may struggle to find a full 22 of fit players to take on the Sharks in Durban next week.
Already weakened through injuries to key backs Brendon Leonard and Richard Kahui, the Hamilton side were dealt another cruel blow when inspirational hooker Tom Willis was ruled out on the eve of yesterday’s match with a rib injury. Reserve hooker Aled de Malmanche, himself only able to play 80 minutes at a real stretch due to suffering from asthma, had to front up for the whole game as there wasn’t another hooker in the squad. Prop Simms Davidson, himself not fit for the game, was forced to sit on the bench just to make up the numbers.
It’s not known at this stage whether Willis will be fit to face the Sharks, but loosehead prop Ben May will definitely be out. He was red-carded yesterday after stamping on Lions flanker Joe van Niekerk and will no doubt cop a lengthy ban for his indiscretions.
Three more key men limped off during the course of the game. Wrecking-ball number 8 Sione Lauaki came off with a hamstring injury and is considered highly doubtful for the showdown in Durban. Flyhalf Stephen Donald took a blow to the neck and went for x-rays last night to determine the seriousness of the injury. Next to him in the waiting room was wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, victim of an ankle strain.
Skipper Mils Muliaina was also doubtful heading into the Lions game, but seems to be over his hamstring strain. Chiefs coach Ian Foster has confirmed that replacements will in all likelihood be flown over, but concedes that the Chiefs squad has been shown up in terms of depth this season.
The Sharks need a bonus point victory over the Chiefs to maximise their chances of advancing to the semi-finals.Tweet