Hertford Highlander

Cancer puts ‘Rugby in Perspective’


Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content, Super Rugby on 28 Apr 2011 at 05:18
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Watching the Highlanders train at Logan Park this week you distinctly get the feeling that they are bracing themselves for a huge onslaught from their northern countrymen. Jamie Joseph’s men have trained in beautiful conditions all week here in Dunedin. They will however be well aware of what is sure to be a galvanised Blues outfit that will still be reeling from their popular team mates devastating personal news.

In many ways rugby, which is currently on a high in the ‘Deep South’ with the resurgence of the Highlanders, has been put in perspective this week. The devastating news that star Blues lock Kurtis Haiu has been diagnosed with bone cancer. Haiu will now be taking an indefinite break from the game to fight the condition. This news has dealt a hand of realism to the rugby mad New Zealand public and is sure to be a factor playing on the mines of both teams as they prepare for the first match of Round 11.

Haiu, his wife and two daughters were processing the devastating diagnosis last Thursday when, after playing with the illness for at least two months, a CT scan revealed a primary cancerous bone tumour in his left rib.

The 26-year-old, who debuted for Auckland in 2005, had complained of sore ribs but thought he’d sustained an injury through contact.

He may now never play rugby again after 53 matches for the Blues and faces immediate surgery to remove the tumour.

Haiu will see a bone tumour specialist early next week for further testing, but will continue to train with his brothers, his team, at his home away from home, to help him cope with the initial shock.

Blues doctor Stephen Kara, who with coach Pat Lam broke the report to Haiu last week, felt it was too early to tell if the cancer was life threatening.

Kara did not know if the tumour had spread or what stage it was at.

Pat Lam has made one change to his starting XV with the rotation of Stanley and McAlister continuing at inside centre.

While the giant killing Highlanders side has welcomed back the star quartet, of Jimmy Cowan, Adam Thomson, Jason Rutledge and Kade Poki.

Highlanders: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Ben Smith, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).

Replacements: 16 Mo Schwalger, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Matt Saunders, 22 James Paterson.

Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tevita Mailau.

Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 James King, 19 Chris Lowrey, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Benson Stanley, 22 Lachie Munro.

The Blues this weekend are sure to have the thought of Kurtis Haiu in the forefront of their mines as they prepare for their clash against the Highlanders. Friday’s evenings match is sure to be a physical tussle to say the least up front, a tussle that Haiu would have relished. Many pundits predict that the Highlanders pack will edge a tough physical encounter.

However don’t underestimate a galvanised Blues pack tomorrow evening in Dunedin. A pack and team minus someone in their engine room, an engine room that is bound to stoke the fire and throw a little extra coal on the flames at Carisbrook, as they rally for their mate, the quiet giant who never complains – Kurtis Haiu.

Get well soon, big fella.



19 Comments

  • Get well soon Kurtis. Best wishes to you and your family through this time. :sad:

  • Comment 1, posted at 28.04.11 06:34:03 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • HH, you must be stoked that your team is doing so well. :mrgreen: So who will get your bet?

  • Comment 2, posted at 28.04.11 06:35:25 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 2) :

    Highlanders by 1 ;-)

  • Comment 3, posted at 28.04.11 06:40:42 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 3) : Interesting :lol: :cool:

  • Comment 4, posted at 28.04.11 06:45:47 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • Get well soon Curtis.

  • Comment 5, posted at 28.04.11 07:11:28 by Ben Reply
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  • Morning all.

  • Comment 6, posted at 28.04.11 07:14:25 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 6) :

    Top of the morning to you Ben !

  • Comment 7, posted at 28.04.11 07:17:20 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 7) : Good evening to you HH. :)

  • Comment 8, posted at 28.04.11 07:21:44 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 8) :

    It’s been a lovely day here today. Just off to the gym now, then tomorrow getting ready for the match and…..the wedding of course ! :shock:

  • Comment 9, posted at 28.04.11 07:23:37 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 9) : What wedding is that?

  • Comment 10, posted at 28.04.11 07:30:49 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 10) : ;-)

  • Comment 11, posted at 28.04.11 07:31:37 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 11) : :) ?

  • Comment 12, posted at 28.04.11 07:43:34 by Ben Reply
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  • Sad indeed,hope he recovers, and got highlanders to win on SB…

  • Comment 13, posted at 28.04.11 08:02:18 by ruggabugga Reply

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  • Very sad news – I can only imagine the shock this entailed to a 26 year-old professional athlete who probably never thought much about sickness or the frailty of the human body until now.

    Get well soon Kurtis.

  • Comment 14, posted at 28.04.11 09:11:45 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Get well soon Kurtis and if you need motivation just look to Australia and Julian Huxley who made a comeback after a brain tumour. It can definitely be done.

  • Comment 15, posted at 28.04.11 09:17:15 by Butchie34 Reply
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  • Good luck Kurtis.

  • Comment 16, posted at 28.04.11 09:20:12 by Honey Badger Reply

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  • @Honey Badger (Comment 16) : Hey Honey. :)

  • Comment 17, posted at 28.04.11 09:29:18 by Ben Reply
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  • Hope we see Kurtis back on a rugby field soon.
    As they say in Afrikaans – “sterkte” (strength) and get well soon.

  • Comment 18, posted at 28.04.11 10:57:17 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • get well.

  • Comment 19, posted at 28.04.11 21:30:02 by rekinek Reply
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