Highlanders

Big injury blow for Highlanders ahead of ‘Saders clash

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The Highlanders have been hit a with lock Tom Donnelly forced to undergo thumb surgery after he suffered the injury during tackling practice this week.


Donnelly will be in plaster for three to four weeks but could be out for as long as six weeks which could rule him out until the fourth-round game against the Crusaders in Dunedin, or the following week against the Chiefs in Invercargill.


Highlanders coach Glenn Moore said the injury was disappointing for the second-rower and the team.


“It’s a big blow. It’s a big blow for him personally as well because he’s in damn good shape and he’s worked jolly hard.


“It’s a frustrating setback for him and, I guess, for the team point of view he’s one of our experienced players.” he told the Southland Times.


Donnelly’s injury would however create an opportunity for others in the squad, including Southland’s Josh Bekhius, who is in his first Super 14 season after two years with the Stags.


The Highlanders do have other options at lock though as they still have Hayden Triggs and Ross Kennedy.


“It puts a bit more pressure on the whole team really, but it creates an opportunity for the likes of Josh. He played pretty well last weekend (against the Chiefs).”


“(Injuries) tend to come in runs, unfortunately. You can never predict when it’s going to happen. Traditionally, you get a few niggles at this time of year.


“This one’s a setback because Tom’s an integral part of the team he’s on the leadership part of the team and he’s an experienced player.”


The Highlanders open their Super 14 campaign against the Brumbies in Dunedin on February 13.


The Highlanders have named their team to play the Crusaders at Timaru, on Friday 30 January at 5.30pm


1. Jamie Mackintosh, 2. David Hall, 3. Clint Newland 4. Hayden Triggs, 5. Josh Bekhuis, 6. George Naoupu, 7. Tim Boys,
8. Steven Setephano, 9. Jimmy Cowan (C), 10. Daniel Bowden, 11. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12. Johnny Leota, 13. Jason Shoemark,, 14. Ben Smith, 15. Israel Dagg


Reserves: 16. Jason Rutledge/Peter Mirrielees, 17. Chris King/Anthony Perenise, 18. Ross Kennedy 19. Alando Soakai/John Hardy, 20. Sean Romans 21. Mathew Berquist, 22. Lucky Mulipola, 23. Kendrick Lynn/Jayden Hayward, 24. Pehi Te Whare, 25. Brett Mather, 26. Adam Thomson.

 

Super14.com

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