After 22 days away from home, six flights and three bruising games, the team has returned home to begin prep for Saturday’s match against the Crusaders.
Before we hit the ground running towards one of our biggest games of the season, team doctor Stephen Kara needed to conduct a post-tour medical check. The results are reassuring.
“Despite the travel and the time zone changes endured over the past week, the team are in good spirits,” said Doc. “They’ll be back to training mid-week after a short period of time off.”
There are only three question marks around players’ availability.
True to his blockbusting form, George Moala has returned to New Zealand with quadriceps haematoma whilst Piers Francis has a thumb injury. Both players’ availability for Saturday will be confirmed later during the week.
During the Force v Blues game, Ofa Tu’ungafasi left the field when game referee Jamie Nutbrown saw the prop go down from a bad tackle. He was immediately taken from the field for concussion assessment, not returning for the remainder of the match. Ofa has been progressing well in post-match treatment and should be given the all-clear for Blues v Crusaders.
After twisting his ankle in training before the Force game, Sam Prattley has been rehabilitating the low-grade sprain and is set to return to play this weekend.
Two players have not been given the all-clear to return. Matt McGahan will be out for one more week after a hip flexor strain from kicking practice at captain’s run before the Force game and Tanerau Latimer sustained a knee injury and will undergo an MRI later in the week.
Prior to touring South Africa and Australia, there were a few long-term injuries that prevented players from travelling: Rene Ranger, Ben Lam and TJ Faiane were out with ACL ruptures and Blake Gibson was rehabbing a right thumb fracture. These players will continue rehabilitation for the remainder of the season.