The Blues’ 29-14 loss to the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium last night has been compounded by the news that Rudi Wulf and Jerome Kaino will not travel to South Africa with the team this afternoon.
Rudi Wulf, one of the standout backs for the Blues this season, suffered a grade two AC joint injury and is expected to be out of action for between three to four weeks.
2011 New Zealand Player of the Year Jerome Kaino has some instability in his left shoulder and has been ruled out of next week’s clash against the Bulls, but his injury will be monitored and he could fly to Africa later next week in preparation for the Stormers match.
Peter Saili will join the squad travelling to the Republic to provide loose forward cover but no-one will replace Wulf as the Blues leave a spot open for Kaino should he recover in time to face the Stormers.
Blues head coach Pat Lam conceded it was a big blow to lose two players of Wulf and Kaino’s calibre, but said now was the time for his side to show their resolve and bounce back.
“It’s a big blow but that’s just the nature of the game,” Lam said.
“Obviously our game was disappointing, particularly in the first half and it’s a blow for us to lose Wulf and Kaino but every team is going to have to deal with injuries and we’re no different.
“We’ve just got to trust the squad, get over there, re-group and bounce back. We know a lot of people are disappointed but we’re the ones to sort this out.”
On a positive note, Charlie Faumuina has recovered from a knee injury and will be fit to play the Bulls.
The Blues head to Sydney this afternoon for an overnight stop, before embarking for South Africa tomorrow. They face the Bulls in Pretoria (Sunday March 11, 6.10am NZT) before taking on the Stormers in Cape Town (Saturday March 17, 6.10am).