Mealamu cut down by calf again

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 07:33
Large kevenmealamubluestraining

Blues hooker Keven Mealamu has been forced to return home early from South Africa with a calf injury that is likely to cause All Blacks coach Steve Hansen some concern as well.

Blues hooker Keven Mealamu has been forced to return home early from South Africa with a calf injury that is likely to cause All Blacks coach Steve Hansen some concern as well.

The veteran forward has battled calf injuries for the last three seasons and sustained another strain to his left leg ahead of the Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

He was a late withdrawal from that game and Blues coach John Kirwan said Mealamu, who turns 35 next week, had not recovered sufficiently for their clash with the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

"It's a real blow for us," Kirwan said in a statement. "He just got a little strain in his calf and when you're a front rower that's like a sprinter having a hamstring problem.

"So we're just erring on the side of caution because we want to make sure Kevvie is with us for most of the season.

"We've decided to protect him a wee bit, send him home and not take the risk because if he blows it he'll be out for 12 or so weeks."

Mealamu said the strain was at the lower end of the injury scale and hoped to be fit to play South Africa's Cheetahs at Eden Park on March 22.

"I'm really gutted that I'm not able to stay on with the team," Mealamu said.

"It's just one of those things, I really want to help the team out but I can't do that unless I'm one hundred per cent.

"I'm hoping to be back for the Cheetahs game so I'm close to being back out there, I just want to make sure its right."

Mealamu's continuing battle with his lower legs will be of concern to Hansen, who will be hoping to have a good idea of his squad for the 2015 World Cup in England by the end of this season.

Fellow veteran Andrew Hore retired from professional rugby after the end-of-year tour to Europe, requiring Hansen to blood a new Test hooker in 2014.

The Hurricanes' Dane Coles has been anointed as the likely successor to Hore but none of the other Super Rugby level hookers have looked up to international standard yet

That has left Hansen reliant on Mealamu being able to make it through to the global showpiece in late 2015.

The All Blacks host England in a three-test series in June, with Stuart Lancaster's young side looming as a threat to the world champions' title defence in 18 months time.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 26 June 2016
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Jaguares v Blues 22h00 Buenos Aires
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 11 6 0 5 27
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9