Double All Black injury blow for struggling Blues

Auckland Super Rugby franchise the Blues have been hit again by injury as All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu have been ruled out of Super Rugby.

Before last week’s victory over the Blues there were 11 players on the Blues injury list but this list has now been extended to an unlucky 13 including four players who are unlikely to play again in the final four weeks of the regular Super Rugby season.

Joining captain Jerome Kaino and Luke Braid on the long term injured list are All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu.

Luatua, the stand-in captain for Kaino, dislocated his shoulder in the win over the Bulls on Friday and with the associated nerve damage, will not return for the Blues final three games.

Tuipulotu has a long term hip injury that has worsened and he, too, is unlikely to make it back in the next four weeks.

Both players require further tests prior to any decisions about their prognosis and management.

Joining them on the unavailable list this week is Tony Woodcock with a shoulder injury sustained in a collapsed scrum in the match against the Bulls and Charlie Faumuina who is on All Blacks leave.

Others not considered for this week’s match include Pita Ahki (hamstring), Dan Bowden (groin) and Bryn Hall (foot).

There is better news for All Black Charles Piutau who has made an excellent recovery to date on his knee injury and may be available before the end of the Super Rugby season.

Meanwhile the Blues are hopeful that injuries to Hamish Northcott (hamstring), Josh Bekhuis (concussion) and Hayden Triggs (calf) will have improved sufficiently to be considered for selection this week.

The team for Saturday’s match against table-topping Hurricanes at Eden Park will be named on Thursday.

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