The Chiefs will have to depend on four players who were not even a part of the original 38-man squad when they play the Blues in Auckland on Friday night.
You would think that if would be easy to fill in for injuries when there is a pool of 38 from which to field 15, but the Chiefs’’ casualty ward is bursting at the seams. They have an entire side’s worth of players who are unfit for the upcoming game with the Blues.
Sean Wainui and Angus Ta’avao will see duty. Both played off the bench when the Blues were manhandled 45 – 23 by the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Chiefs have turned the ranks upside down and shaken the ranks to add Karl Tu’inukuafe. Either Bailyn Sullivan or Declan O’Donnell will be needed to shore up the ranks.
Thus far, the Chiefs have lost Charlie Ngatai to a knee injury, so the fullback and co-captain will be a spectator rather than a participant. Lock Dominic Bird has been grounded by a balky shoulder. Mitchell Brown will not be able to perform loose forward duties due to a concussion.
Concussions have also ruled out utility bench players Marty McKenzie and Wainui. Both suffered knocks to the head during the first game of the season last weekend. The most recent to go down is prop Atu Moli, the victim of a thigh injury.
Those players may recover at various stages during the season and once again become available, but backline utility Tim Nanai-Williams’ season is done, due to surgery for a shoulder injury he sustained during the pre-season trials.
Coach Colin Cooper is healthy, although he might have something of a headache from trying to find enough bodies to go up against the Blues. He has needed to make four changes to his starting lineup from the squad he fielded last weekend.
Tiaan Falcon will take a spot on the bench in relief of McKenzie and Falcon could come away from the game with his first Super Rugby cap.