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

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Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 19h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9