Chiefs denied Laulala move
Auckland - The New Zealand Rugby Union have denied the Chiefs from signing former Crusaders centre, Casey Laulala as an emergency inclusion to their squad as injuries blight their squad.
The New Zealand Herald's website
reports that the defending Super Rugby champions had received clearance from Laulala's current club, Munster, but were stopped from completing the move by the NZRU, despite the Highlanders recruiting MoseTuiali'i from his Japanese earlier in the season.
The debacle has opened up a debate within the NZRU with allegations of bias the underlying issue. However, the NZRU said that they denied the Chiefs their request because it came outside of the April 1 deadline.
The NZRU are yet to comment, but Chiefs coach, Dave Rennie lamented the lack of support his franchise was being afforded.
"We knew the rules going in. It was an appeal for some help, really," he said.
Rennie went onto say that the growing number of professional rugby players leaving New Zealand is a growing concern.
"We've got a lot of our next tier going overseas," he said.
"There's an enormous amount of players who have gone recently or are about to go. More than people realise, I think. When you look at that situation we're starting to look at guys who haven't even started for their NPC side."
Laulala, 31, played two Tests for the All Blacks between 2004-06 in an era dominated by Conrad Smith and Richard Kahui, would have been a valuable addition to the Chiefs.
He left the seven-time Super Rugby champions in 2009, first signing for the Cardiff Blues before going to Munster.
The Chiefs have a serious shortage in midfield with All Black Richard Kahui ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, Andrew Horrell recovering from a serious ankle sprain and Tim Nanai-Williams out until July after a spell in hospital with a stomach ulcer.
This means that the Chiefs are only left with the inexperienced trio of Bundee Aki, Charlie Ngatai - who is recovering from a hamstring strain - and Save Tokula available for their next match against the Hurricanes.