Auckland - The Blues are in shock over the latest prognosis for cancer-stricken team-mate Kurtis Haiu, but hope his battle for survival will galvanise them for their Super Rugby
According to Rugby Heaven
correspondent Marc Hinton
, Blues coach Pat Lam and Dr Stephen Kara revealed on Sunday that Haiu had received the results of the biopsy on the tumour discovered in his rib area, and Kara could not hide the severity of the outcome when he tagged it the "worst" of the options being contemplated.
Haiu has a type of bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma which is unusual for a player of the 26-year-old Aucklander's age.
"It generally affects people in their adolescence to early 20s," said Kara. "It's stage two cancer, which means it's spread just outside the bone and into the soft tissue, but nowhere else."
The news, coming on top of revelations that Haiu was to appear in the Pukekohe District Court this week on assault charges
and also suggestions he had been involved in a property deal gone sour, has hit the Blues like a ton of bricks.
"It's a huge shock," said fellow lock Anthony Boric. "We've just got to be positive for him and wish him all the best."
Kara said Haiu started what would be three months of chemotherapy. At the end of that he'll have the residual tumour removed before undergoing another six months of chemo. He is out of all rugby for at least a year.
"The specialist has quoted a 65 percent cure rate at five years," added Kara.
Boric said his team-mates would do everything in their power to help the popular second-rower through this tumultuous time in his life.
"We're all here for him, we're all mates," said Boric. "He's going to be coming in quite a bit, so we'll just spend time with him and talk about normal things like we do every day."
The Blues, who lead the Kiwi conference by five points and are just a solitary point behind the Reds in the overall standings
, are adamant that Haiu's health battle will galvanise rather than distract them.
Lam revealed the Blues would dearly love to win their first championship since 2003 to honour their team-mate.
"He came in this morning as we told the rest of the boys what the situation is," said Lam. "As people know chemotherapy is a tough thing to go through and it's important we support not only him but also (wife) Frieda and the two children."
Meanwhile, Lam confirmed Jerome Kaino would return to the team for Friday's clash against the third-placed Stormers, although the Blues were unlikely to have midfielder Benson Stanley who was still experiencing concussion symptoms.