Ireland vs Italy

Blues' resources stretched thin

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 08:16
Large tom donnelly blues

The Blues' second row resources have taken another hit, with veteran Tom Donnelly ruled out of the Super Rugby match against the Brumbies.

The Blues' second row resources have taken another hit, with veteran Tom Donnelly ruled out of the Super Rugby Round Seven match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.

Donnelly was on the bench for the Blues' 30-12 win over the Highlanders at the weekend, but did not get on after straining his calf during the pre-match warm-up.

With Culum Retallick ruled out for the season with an ACL rupture and Patrick Tuipulotu currently sidelined with a knee injury, it leaves the Blues light on locks.

Tom Murday has returned from a knee injury.

However, he is likely to only play a club game in Northland this week, with Steven Luatua the most obvious option to provide cover at lock if required.

The latest setback comes after it was revealed late last week that scans have shown Blues and All Black scrumhalf Piri Weepu has a small hole in his heart - which could have led to the minor stroke he suffered early this month.

Weepu, 30, is expected to make a full recovery, but has been ruled out of Super Rugby for at least a month.

All Black midfielder Francis Saili will provide a real boost as he makes his return from a stress injury this week, while his brother Peter's mid-foot sprain will be examined this week and it is hopeful he will also be available.

Hooker Keven Mealamu, who suffered a calf strain while in South Africa, is progressing slowly and he will start doing some field-based running this week.

He is hopeful of returning for the Blues' Round 10 clash with the Hurricanes.

Scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park (stress injury) is also targeting the Hurricanes game to make his return, with Northland's Sonatane Takulua continuing to train with the team this week.

Baden Kerr had surgery last week on his third and fourth finger fractures and will be sidelined for a significant period of time.

Ireland vs Italy
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26