Super 14
Donnelly set for injury lay-off
January 29, 2009
Tom Donnelly during the Super 14 match between Blue Bulls and Highlanders held at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on April 19, 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Lock Tom Donnelly is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a thumb injury © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Tom Donnelly
Tournaments/Tours: Super 14

Highlanders lock Tom Donnelly will miss the opening rounds of this season's Super 14 after being forced to undergo surgery on his thumb.

The experiened Otago lock suffered the tendon injury during tackling practice this week. He will be in plaster for about a month and could be out for as long as six weeks, meaning he will miss at least the tournament's opening match against the ACT Brumbies in Dunedin on February 13.

Donnelly may not be available until the fourth-round game against the Crusaders in Dunedin, or the following week against the Chiefs in Invercargill. Highlanders coach Glenn Moore told The Otago Daily Times the injury was disappointing for the team.

"It's a big blow for him personally as well because he's in damn good shape and he's worked jolly hard," he said. "It's a frustrating setback for him and, I guess, for the team point of view he's one of our experienced players."

The Highlanders' other locking cover comes from Southland's Josh Bekhius, who is in his first Super 14 season, Hayden Triggs and Ross Kennedy.

The Highlanders welcome wingers Ben Smith and Fetu'u Vainikolo and flanker Adam Thomson back from injury for the pre-season match against the Crusaders in Timaru tomorrow.

Teams for Highlanders v Crusaders pre-season clash at Timaru, Janaury 30:

Highlanders: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Jason Shoemark, Johnny Leota, Fetu'u Vainikolo, Daniel Bowden, Jimmy Cowan, Steven Setephano, Tim Boys, George Naoupu, Josh Bekhuis, Hayden Triggs, Clint Newland, David Hall, Jamie Mackintosh.

Replacements: Jason Rutledge/Peter Mirrielees, Chris King/Anthony Perenise, Ross Kennedy, Alando Soakai/John Hardy, Sean Romans, Mathew Berquist, Lucky Mulipola, Kendrick Lynn/Jayden Hayward, Pehi Te Whare, Brett Mather, Adam Thomson.

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Kade Poki, Casey Laulala, Ryan Crotty, Sean Maitland, Stephen Brett, Steve Alfeld, Nasi Manu, George Whitelock, Jonathan Poff, Ross Filipo, Michael Paterson, Bronson Murray, Daniel Perrin, Owen Franks.

Replacements: Jason MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Jared Payne, Tim Bateman, Adam Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Thomas Waldrom, Ben Franks, Isaac Ross, Tyson Keats.


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