All Black blow for Blues
All Black blow for BluesSHARE
All Black prop Charlie Faumuina will miss the rest of the Blues' Super Rugby season with a calf injury and is in doubt for New Zealand's Test series against France.
Faumuina, 26, tore a calf muscle against the Waratahs last month and Blues coach John Kirwan said the latest medical advice was that he would take up to 14 weeks to recover.
That not only ends his Super Rugby season, but would also sideline him for the three-Test series against France in June, the first clash between the sides since New Zealand beat the French 8-7 in the 2011 World Cup final.
Kirwan said medics had advised Faumuina risked suffering a recurrence of the injury if he was rushed back too soon.
"Team doctor Stephen Kara said best case scenario for Faumuina returning was eight weeks, but the worst case scenario was 14 weeks.
"I think if we tried to rush Charlie back, he's the type of guy that wants to help the team out so he'd push hard to get back and possibly to the detriment of his long term career," Kirwan said.
"He needs to get on top of this injury so keeping the team in mind and Charlie's future in mind we've decided to replace him.
"He's still going to be with us and we want to get him back as quickly as we can, but unfortunately the rules state that if you replace a player he can't come back for the season so that's a tough call but Charlie was understanding and wants to try and get back to 100 per cent so that's his main goal."
Meanwhile Auckland prop Sam Prattley has been called into the Blues squad to replace Faumuina.
The 23-year-old Prattley recently signed a two-year contract with Auckland after playing three seasons for Tasman and has been called in to replace Faumuina.
A former New Zealand Under-17 and Under-20 representative, Prattley spent two seasons in the Crusaders wider training group and said he was thrilled to get the call-up from the Blues.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity but also pretty nervous joining the team for the first time this morning," Prattley said.
"It's always been a goal of mine to step up to Super Rugby level and was one of the motivating factors in me making the move up to Auckland so I'm really looking forward to the getting stuck in."
Kirwan said he was happy to welcome Prattley into the fold.
"Sam played well for the Blues development team so we're happy to have him on board. He's one of those raw boned, tough and rugged players who covers both sides of the scrum so that's a real positive for us."