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Casualty Ward Super Rugby Pre-season

The Super Rugby AU & Aotearoa seasons are warming up, which means the return of your beloved Casualty Ward! The Casualty Ward is here to deliver all your injury news. We stay on top of all the latest news, with the added insights of our team’s Physiotherapist and Podiatrist.

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Returning from injury (AU Rd 1 & Aotearoa Rd 1):

Nathan Harris (Chiefs) – Had a rotator cuff (shoulder muscle) repair on the 15th of January 2020. Miss all of Super Rugby 2020. Said to be back fit this year.
Atu Moli (Chiefs) – Had FAI (hip impingement) surgery on both hips to treat chronic hip dysfunction. Missed the entire 2020 season. Source.
Michael Allardice (Chiefs) – Missed the 2020 season having undergone surgery for a shoulder reconstruction in March, we expect him to be back for the start of the season. Source.
Laghlan McWhannell (Chiefs) – Missed the 2020 season for both Super Rugby and the Mitre 10 cup having gone under the knife to have a patellar tendon debridement (this is not a good sign for such a young player).
Quinten Strange – Suffered a chest injury in rd 10 and missed the back end of the year. Source.
Ethan Blackadder (Crusaders) – Now had a meniscus clean up in his knee after being scratched from rd 4 in 2020. Missed the season but we would expect he is back to start this year.
Cullen Grace (Crusaders) – Ruled out of action for 6-8 weeks with a Bennett’s fracture (fractured thumb) that required an operation in rd 3. So will be back to start the year. Source.
David Havili (Crusaders) – Suffered a Bennett’s fracture in his thumb last year but recovered to play in the Mitre 10 cup and is fully fit to start the season. Source.
Tom Robinson (Blues) – Had a meniscal tear cleaned up in his knee after rd 1. Played all of the Mitre 10 cup so he will be fit to start.
Tanielu Tele’a (Blues) – Had a shoulder injury after round 6 last year but played throughout the Mitre 10 cup without any issues.
Stephen Perofeta (Blues) – Was ruled out for last season but played through the Mitre 10 cup.
Nehe Milner-Skudder (Highlanders) – Played through the Mitre 10 cup after around 2 years out with injury.
Ricky Jackson (Highlanders) – Missed the entire SR campaign with an ankle injury and operation but returned for the Mitre 10 cup.
Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders) – Had an operation on his back last year and missed the Super Rugby season. Came back in the Mitre 10 cup.
Josh Dickson (Highlanders) – Brok a bone in his lower leg in Aotearoa Rd 5 but made his comeback in Mitre 10 cup.
James Lentjes (Highlanders) – Fracture dislocated his ankle in February 2020, returning for 20 minutes in the first trial. Source.
Solomon Alaimalo (Highlanders) – Dislocated his shoulder in July, due to play in the 2nd preseason trial against the hurricanes. Source.

Toni Pulu (Western Force) – Had shoulder surgery in early March 2020 and missed the full season. No word on his fitness yet but he should be fit. Source.
Rob Leota (Rebels) – Broke a leg in Shute Shield last season but expected to be fit for the Rebels first game. Source.
Matt To’omua (Rebels) – Had only just returned to full training this week (Feb 15th) after suffering a hip flexor injury against the All Blacks last year, expected to be fit for the Rebels’ opening match. Source.

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New players:

Rene Ranger (Crusaders) – The former All Black has been brought in as an injury replacement for George Bridge. Source.
Josh McKay (Crusaders) – The former Highlanders flyer has been thrown a lifeline by the Crusaders coming in as injury cover for Braydon Ennor. Source.
Nathan Vella (Crusaders) – Come in as injury cover for Andrew Makalio. Previously played for the Hurricanes, Sunwolves and Highlanders. Source.

New Injuries (preseason):

Andrew Makalio (Crusaders) – has been ruled out of the 2021 Super Rugby season due to a neck injury. Source.
Tom Sanders (Crusaders) – Fractured his cheek in the intrasquad match (Feb 6th we think), ruled out for 8-10 weeks. This would mean a rd 6 return at the earliest. Source.
Oli Jager (Crusaders) – Injured his foot in the first trial against the Highlanders and limped off the field. Couldn’t put weight on it after the game.Source.
Josh Dickson (Highlanders) – suffered a head knock in the trial against the Crusaders. Won’t feature the followingg week. Source.
Bryn Evans (Highlanders) – Suffered a rib injury against the Crusaders, not expected to be sidelined for long. Source.
Liam Squire (Highlanders) – Has been limping at training as he gets back into the big training load required. Should play in the “early rounds” but isn’t expected to be 100% fit at the start of the season. Expected to have his first hit out just before the season starts. Source.
Josh Ioane (Highlanders) – unavailable to play the trial on Feb 13th due to injury niggles, but will be right within the next fortnight. Source.
Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (Highlanders) – unavailable to play the trial on Feb 13th due to injury niggles, but will be right within the next fortnight. Source.
Jermaine Ainsley (Highlanders) – Ruled out for the majority of SR Aotearoa due to a high ankle sprain sustained the week before the first trial. Source.
Fraser Armstrong (Hurricanes) – Came off as a precaution early in the trial against the Chiefs after taking a knock to the head. Not expected to be too serious. Source.
Simon Hickey (Hurricanes) – Tore his ACL in preseason and will miss the entire 2021 season. Orbyn Leger is likely to get a full contract as injury cover. Source.
James Parsons (Blues) – Retiring on medical advice, after being out of the game for several months from a head injury. Source.

Julian Montoya (Western Force) – Had some issues with his paperwork and will no longer join the Force. He is joining Leicester Tigers instead. Source.
Tom Wright (Brumbies) – Suffered bone bruising during training in the first week of February. Expected to miss at least the first six weeks of Super Rugby AU. Source.
Pete Samu (Brumbies) – Tweaked his AC joint in his shoulder. Generally a 1-2 week injury if not too bad. McKellar says he will likely miss round 1. Source.
Solomone Kata (Brumbies) – Progressing well on his way back from injury, hopefully available for round 1. Source.
Irae Simone (Brumbies) – Also progressing well on his way back from injury, hopefully available for round 1. Source.
David Porecki (Waratahs) – Pulled late from the Waratahs trial against the Reds with a neck issue. Is apparently improving, my gut says it is unlikely to be serious considering the way it is being discussed. Source.
Jack Dempsey (Waratahs) – Had his appendix out in the offseason. Apparently still taking it easy at training two weeks out from the season. Source.
James Ramm (Waratahs) – Has an ongoing groin injury that means he wasn’t able to run through the offseason. Sounds like he is likely to miss the start of the season. Source.
Liam Wright (Reds) – Will miss up to 10 weeks of the season with a syndesmosis injury in the preseason trial against the Waratahs.
Suliasi Vunivalu (Reds) – Has been banned for one week after pushing a bouncer at a night club. Source.
Isi Naisarani (Rebels) –  expected to miss at least the Reds game (rd 2) after knee arthroscopy (clean up) showed far more extensive damage than was anticipated. He is fit but still building his quad strength. Source.

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Ongoing Injury List:


Western Force


Lukhan Salakai-Loto – Still has two weeks to go on his ban from the end of last year so he won’t play until round 3.
Josh Flook – Dislocated his shoulder and had surgery in August. A 6 month return time would place him around late February. Source.


Lachie Swinton – Will miss round 1 as he finishes his red card suspension from the international season.
Lalakai Foketi – Still recovering from a shoulder injury. No word on a return date at the moment. Source.
Robbie Abel – Has an ankle injury and isn’t back training two weeks out from round 1. Source.

Toni Brown has let out that there is no set plan to rest All Blacks this year – Source.

Pari Pari Parkinson – Suffered an ankle injury in rd 10 and had an operation, due back in April. Source.
Kazuki Himeno – Was stuck in Japan but now in NZ in isolation until February 22nd. Brown suggested he was aiming to play round 3. Source.
Sam Gilbert – Tore his ACL in rd 3 and will miss 9 months. Due back around April 2021. Source.
Ayden Johnstone – is unavailable as he recovers from a concussion he picked up while training for the North v South game last year. No definitive time has been put on his return. Source.

Kini Naholo – Will miss the entire 2021 Super Rugby campaign with injury.

Jamie Booth – Tore his MCL and PCL in his knee, plus fractured his tibial plateau (surface of his knee joint). Had an operation in October. I’d suspect he is about six months (April) to return as a minimum. Source.

Braydon Ennor – Tore his ACL in the North V South game and is not due back until after SR Aotearoa. Source.
George Bridge – Recovering from a pec muscle repair in mid October. Said to be out for six months he should return by mid April. Source.
Manasa Mataele – Recovering from a pec muscle repair in mid October only a few days after Bridge. Said to be out for six months he should return by mid April. Source.

Ray Niuia – Had a knee injury that cost him his 2020 season. We assume he is back competing for a spot this year.
Soane Vikena – The NZ U20s hooker will miss the season with a shoulder injury from back in November. Source.

Gone for the season:


Have we missed something? Drop a comment or tweet and let us know.

Written by your local rugby nerd Harrison Dale.