Super Rugby
Toeava suffers injury blow
ESPNscrum Staff
May 4, 2011
Blues fullback Isaia Toeava loses the ball in contact, Blues v Rebels, Super Rugby, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, April 22, 2011
Toeava's season has been ended by the recurrence of a hip injury © Getty Images

Blues fullback Isaia Toeava will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season after an old stress fracture to his hip resurfaced.

Toeava, one of the in-form players for the table-topping Blues, is out for at least eight weeks following the recurrence of an injury which caused him problems in late 2009 and last year. However, the 25-year-old All Blacks international should be available for consideration for the Tri-Nations. The injury means Northland centre Jared Payne moves back to fullback for Friday night's game against the Hurricanes in Wellington, with Rene Ranger coming into centre and Lachie Munro starting from the left wing.

"He'll need six weeks of non-weight-bearing exercise and then he'll be free to train again," revealed Blues coach Pat Lam. "Effectively that rules him out for the rest of our season, though he will obviously be available for All Black rugby after that."

Lam said the injury, which Toeava first noticed at the weekend, was disappointing but he was confident it wasn't as bad as when he first strained it. "On a scale of one to 10, where last time was a 10, this is about a four or a five," Lam said. "He doesn't have the pain, he more feels a loss of a power in his hamstring. He felt that on the weekend, we had it all checked out and that's what's returned.

"It's disappointing for Ice and a big loss for us as a team. He's been through a longer process before and on the bright side it's not so bad, it's just too much of a risk for continue."

Toeava is the latest in a string of Blues players to be injured, a list which has meant four players from the wider training squad have been called to the reserves bench for Friday night's game.

"We had 32 in our squad at the beginning of the year, and out of that 32 we've only got 20 available," Lam said. "When you consider three of those are halfbacks and three of those are hookers, we've only really got 18."

Lam said the Blues had an additional complication at lock, where All Black Anthony Boric is still unavailable through a hamstring injury. "Chris Lowrey continues at lock with James King on the bench, but I just got reminded that Chris' wife is expecting their first child on Saturday."

Steven Luatua, a New Zealand under-20s representative who is part of the Blues development programme, will travel to Wellington as a stand-by for Lowrey.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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