Highlanders call in former Blues back Atiga


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The Highlanders have called in former Blues back Ben Atiga after being hit by injuries through three weeks of New Zealand conference derby matches.

Atiga has been in the Highlanders wider training squad and has even trained with the Highlanders for periods this season.

While playing for the Blues Atiga scored the first ever Super 14 try on the 10th of February 2006 against the Hurricanes who the Highlanders play this week.

Highlanders outside backs James Paterson and Siale Piutau are expected to be out of action for some time due to the injuries they picked up playing in the 20-7 loss to the Chiefs so the Highlanders have had to call in cover.

James Paterson has been ruled out for the rest of the season while a scan on Piutau’s leg revealed a torn a groin muscle but the Highlanders are unsure of how long he will be out.

Atiga played one test for the All Blacks in 2003 joined the squad this week with another new Otago signing, Buxton Popoali’i expected to train alongside the Highlanders this week.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph wants to see how players train through the week before deciding how many players he will adds to the squad.

Winger Kade Poki is still in doubt and is being looked at as a week-to-week proposition because his right knee can sometimes swell up during the week.

Joseph says that Poki needs an operation on his knee but he would wait until the end of the season.

Young winger Telusa Veainu could come into consideration even though he has only made a couple of appearances off the bench so far this season.

Second five-eighth Shaun Treeby has missed the last month of rugby with a medial ligament strain but Joseph says he is unlikely to play before May the 28th when the Highlanders play the Lions.

Adam Thomson could also be back for the Lions game as he has popped some rib cartilage and needs time to heal.

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