The Blues have been dealt yet another blow at first five-eighths after Simon Hickey was injured playing for the New Zealand Under 20s on Tuesday.
The talented pivot has been ruled out of the IRB Junior World Championship and is also expected to miss much of the remainder of the Investec Super Rugby season.
20-year-old Hickey came off in the second half of New Zealand’s final pool match against Scotland after sustaining a high ankle sprain which will see him sidelined for between four to six weeks.
Hickey is the fourth first-five to become unavailable for the Blues following season ending injuries to Baden Kerr (broken fingers) and Chris Noakes (ruptured bicep) as well as the departure of Benji Marshall.
“I don’t know what we’ve done, we must have offended the gods of first fives,” Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan quipped.
“I feel really disappointed for Simon, he’s had a great season. We freed him up to go to the New Zealand Under 20s as obviously it’s really important for him to put on that black jersey and it’s just disappointing that he’s had his tournament cut short through injury.”
Hawke’s Bay playmaker Ihaia West has all of a sudden been elevated to the number one pivot for the Blues after just two appearances, while North Harbour’s Matt McGahan has been called in as cover, leaving the Blues with just two healthy first fives.
“He’s been really good for us and he deserves his chance,” Kirwan said of McGahan.
“He’s come in here and done everything right and he’s shown us enough during his time in the environment to suggest he’s a real contender.”