Latham likely to return against Crusaders



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Reds medical staff have dashed full-back Chris Latham’s hopes of returning from a knee injury in Friday’s Super 14 clash against the Blues at Suncorp Stadium.

Latham has not played since the Reds’ 29-14 loss to the Cheetahs on April 6 in South Africa and he had planned to make his comeback earlier than expected comeback after being encouraged by the results of a private training run on Sunday.

The Reds medical team however had different ideas and advised Latham to sit out another week before coming back for Queensland’s home battle against the Crusaders on May 10.

“Of course I’m disappointed about missing this week because I want to be there for every game possible,” said Latham in the Courier Mail knowing that every game he does not play in is one less chance to play Super 14 rugby before he heads off to play for Worcester Warriors.

“But by coming back against the Crusaders, it will still be a week ahead of when I was originally supposed to come back (against New South Wales on May 17).”

Reds coach Phil Mooney said there was not enough time for Latham to get the sufficient amount of “volume in his legs” to take on the Auckland-based outfit.

“It’s a short turnaround, which hasn’t helped Latho’s cause,” Mooney said.

“But he should be right for the Crusaders.”

The Reds may suffer a loss for next year and beyond as half-back Sam Cordingley is eyeing a contract with French club Grenoble and he is expected to make his decision this week.

Rodney Blake remains a Red for now, but an announcement is imminent that the giant prop will sign a three-year deal with Bayonne in France.

Mooney described Blake, who turns 25 on Tuesday, as a player with immense ability but someone who had to “work a little harder”.

“If he goes to France he’ll be playing higher volume rugby,” he said.

The Reds has an extremely tough run in their remaining matches and their final three opponents of the season are the Blues, the Crusaders and the Waratahs.

“The Blues will be desperate and we can end their semi-final hopes,” Mooney said.

“With the Crusaders being coached by the new Wallabies coach, that will be motivation enough, and the Waratahs are the old enemy.”

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