Marshall and Maxwell to miss final
May 22, 2000
The injury news for the Canterbury Crusaders goes from bad to worse as they prepare for Saturday's Super 12 semi-final against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
The Crusaders overcame the Highlanders 37-15 in last Saturday's semi-final, but the injury list continues to grow with replacements Aaron Flynn, Afato So'oalo and Norm Berryman in some doubt with injuries.
These woes come on top of halfback Justin Marshall and lock Norm Maxwell, who both missed the game against the Highlanders and are unlikely to play against the Brumbies.
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans would normally be happy with selecting an unchanged side after a Super 12 semi-final victory, but there's no doubt he would have welcomed back the All Black duo for the final after both withdrew with torn calf muscles late last week. Marshall was forced to attend Saturday's game on crutches.
The Crusaders are fortunate in having strength in depth amongst the reserves. Ben Hurst, who deputised superbly for Marshall against the Highlanders, will this week be entrusted with the task of confronting and attempting to subdue the Brumbies' George Gregan, currently in majestic form. And young Chris Jack substituted expertly for Maxwell and the experience of Steve Lancaster was invaluable in the second half.
The Brumbies don't quite have the same problem, but have a frustrating dilemma themselves with captain and flanker Brett Robinson expected to return from a torn chest muscle.
George Smith, Robinson's replacement during his three-week absence, has been in outstanding form and certainly doesn't deserve to be dropped from the run-on side.
It would also be a cruel blow to Robinson, should he be kept out of the side. The Brumbies foundation player has already indicated he won't be returning to Canberra in 2001. A qualified doctor, Robinson intends to move to England and study a Master of Science at Oxford.