Season over for Blues duo
Auckland - New Zealand forwards Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu have been
ruled out for the rest of the Super Rugby season because of injury, the Blues said on Tuesday.
Powerful loose forward Luatua, who has played 14 Tests for the All
Blacks over the last two seasons, dislocated his shoulder against the
Bulls last Friday, while seven-cap lock Tuipulotu has aggravated a
long-standing hip injury.
"Both players require further tests prior to any decisions about their prognosis and management," the Blues said in a statement.
Luatua was acting captain for the 23-18 victory over South Africa's
Bulls, which moved the Blues further off the bottom of the standings,
because of a Super Rugby season-ending injury to All Blacks first choice
back-rower, Jerome Kaino.
Prop Tony Woodcock, who has won 110 caps for his country and scored the
only try in the 2011 World Cup final, will also miss next weekend's
match against the table-topping Hurricanes because of a
There was better news for outside back Charles Piutau and his bid to
force his way back into Steve Hansen's squad for this year's World Cup
before he heads to Ulster next season.
The 23-year-old has made a better than expected recovery from a knee
injury he suffered against the Western Force on May 2 and could be
available before the end of the Super Rugby season on the weekend of
The All Blacks open their international season against Samoa in Apia on July 8.
New Zealand then play Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina in
Christchurch on July 17 and South Africa in Johannesburg on July 25
before back-to-back matches against Australia in Sydney and Auckland on
August 8 and 15.
Their World Cup defence begins against Argentina at Wembley Stadium in London on September 20.