Super Rugby
Tom Marshall sidelined for eight weeks
ESPN Staff
January 8, 2014
The Crusaders' Tom Marshall bumps off the Reds' Quade Cooper, Crusaders v Queensland Reds, Super Rugby, Super Rugby qualifiers, AMI Stadium, Christchurch, July 20, 2013
Tom Marshall joins a lengthy injury list in Hamilton © Getty Images

Tom Marshall will be sidelined for at least eight weeks after surgery on Friday to correct an aggravated thumb ligament.

Marshall joined the two-time defending Super Rugby champions from the Crusaders in a bid to get more game time at fullback after playing mostly as a winger for the South Island powerhouse, but he will now miss the start of the season alongside Chiefs custodians Robbie Robinson and Gareth Anscombe; Robinson has a hip complaint while Anscombe will not return until March after shoulder surgery. Andrew Horrell, another option at fullback, is also carrying an injury, Fairfax Media has reported in New Zealand.

"It puts a bit of pressure on 15 but we've got Charlie [Ngatai], who has played a bit there; 'Hozzer' [Andrew Horrell] has played a bit there; when Mils [Muliaina] gets back, he's played a fair bit there; and Tim [Nanai-Williams] and James Lowe can play there as well; so we've got a lot of cover," Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said.

Tim Nanai-Williams, in particular, is eyeing the No.15 jumper as he returns from major groin and knee surgery that saw him miss the Super Rugby final against the Brumbies, the ITM Cup season, and Counties Manukau's maiden Ranfurly Shield victory.

"The doctor had to get in and snip all the tendons off to regrow again so I had to start all over again strengthening my legs, my glutes, my groins and I had to learn how to walk pretty much because I did my [medial cruciate ligament ] as well," Nanai-Williams told Fairfax Media in New Zealand.

The Chiefs utility back spent six weeks in a wheelchair and five weeks on crutches and "literally had to learn how to walk again, and was like a baby crawling before I could walk".

Nanai-Williams has now eased into team training, completing his first backs session on Tuesday. "I wasn't too sure how it was going to pan out because I'm quite scared at the moment - just that feeling that it might give way again - but with the strengthening I've done and a couple more weeks running with the boys it should definitely come right," he told Fairfax.

Nanai-Williams is keen to accept the challenge of playing fullback for the Chiefs, if required, having already played there, centre and wing. "The coaches threw me in the deep end last season at centre and I enjoy challenges," he said. "Playing centre last year has really helped me a lot as a footy player, and given me the confidence to go from one position to another."

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