Super Rugby
Weepu tempers expectations
ESPNscrum Staff
May 11, 2011
Wainuiomata's Piri Weepu passes the ball, Wainuiomata v Poneke, Swindale Shield, Williams Jones Field, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, April 16, 2011
Piri Weepu in action for club side Wainuiomata © Getty Images

All Black scrum-half Piri Weepu has dampened expectations as he prepares to make his long-awaited comeback at Super Rugby level.

The 27-year-old has been out of top level rugby since he broke his leg while in action for Wellington last October and will ease his way back off the Hurricanes' bench in their clash with the Highlanders in Invercargill.

"I'm not expecting wonders from the beginning, but I'll just try and contribute to the team," he said.

Weepu needed six screws to keep the bone steady during his seven-month rehabilitation and a calf problem, picked up in club rugby, further delayed his return to the team. Every outing has helped his confidence levels, but Weepu admits there remain some doubts after the injury.

"It is slowly getting there, but this is another step up from club level," he said. "I'm not as worried about it and just have to make sure I'm not getting caught up too much and stay as confident as I can. I don't think I'm in the state to be starting at this stage, it's my first game back - I don't want to get out there and not be where I'm supposed to be."

In the only change to the starting lineup, centre Ma'a Nonu returns after recovering from a fractured eye socket as coach Mark Hammett perseveres with a forward pack that has found its form in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, All Blacks Luke McAlister and Anthony Boric will return from injury for the Blues' match against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Friday night. The inclusion of McAlister at inside-centre and lock Boric from respective ankle and hamstring problems are the two personnel changes to the XV that started the 17-11 win over the Hurricanes last weekend.

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