Johannesburg - Blues captain Keven Mealamu, who battled through most of the game against the Western Force last Friday with a muscle strain, is in a race against time to be ready for the Super 14 clash against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
That is one of the latest setbacks on the injury front for the Blues. Centre Benson Stanley was taken off in the same match, and has returned to New Zealand after scans revealed a hamstring tear.
The above injuries come with Ali Williams, Jay Williams and Rudi Wulf already sidelined.
Mealamu sustained his injury in the fifth minute but was only taken off late in the second half. Francis Smith will cover for him as a third hooker.
But there is also some good news for the Blues. Loose forward Jerome Kaino and scrumhalf Taniela Moa will link up with the Blues in South Africa later this week, but will not be considered for the weekend's Super 14 match against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Both players have just become first time fathers. Kaino's partner has had a baby girl and Moa's a baby boy.
Kaino remained in New Zealand and didn't play in the Force game. Moa did play but was also forced off the field towards the end of the Force game. However, Kaino and Moa will not be considered for the match against the Bulls on Saturday, said team manager Ant Strachan, but they will be in the picture for the Stormers game in Cape Town next week.
The team is further weakened by the absence of Joe Rokocoko who is also awaiting the birth of a child.