x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Hurricanes lose Eaton to knee injury

The Wellington Hurricanes' lock is likely to miss the rest of the Super 14 season after rupturing his ligament during Saturday's game against the Golden Lions.

Jason Eaton, the Wellington Hurricanes' lock, is likely to miss the rest of the Super 14 rugby season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday's 33-18 victory over the Golden Lions. "It is likely that this will require surgery, putting him out of the game for approximately six months," the team said in a statement. The 27-year-old forward suffered a similar injury to his left knee in 2007, causing him to miss New Zealand's World Cup campaign that year.

Tamati Ellison, the winger and outside centre Conrad Smith did not travel with the team to South Africa yesterday and are also out of the weekend's game against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Ellison suffered a contusion to his right shoulder in the Lions' match, while Smith sprained a ligament in his right thumb. Hosea Gear, the winger, who has been recovering from knee surgery, was expected to be available for selection in about a month, the team said.

Meanwhile, Rod Davies, the Queensland Reds winger, is expected to miss the next four weeks of the Super 14 season after suffering a suspected fractured cheekbone during the 27-18 home loss to the Auckland Blues on Saturday. The full-back, Peter Hynes, is also in doubt after the Australian international dislocated a finger early in the match at Ballymore. Hynes would seek further medical advice before selection, the team said.

The Reds, who have lost two of their first three matches despite playing them all at home, have only a six-day turnaround to recover before they travel to Hamilton for Friday's clash with the in-form Waikato Chiefs, who have won all three of their matches. Tatafu Polota-Nau, the New South Wales Waratahs hooker, remains in doubt for Saturday's clash against the Natal Sharks, while the prop, Benn Robinson, is expected to play despite aggravating a shoulder injury last weekend.

Polota-Nau was replaced at half-time against the Bulls after suffering a hamstring strain early on in the first half of his side's 48-38 loss in Pretoria. The 24-year-old forward was the first member of the squad to pass through customs as the squad returned today and promptly rushed straight to the team doctor's offices for scans. "It's a hamstring strain, fairly high up, we're just not too sure to what extent so there's some doubt there, but other than that we've come out of it reasonably good as far as injuries are concerned," said coach Waratahs Chris Hickey.

"Benn took another knock on that shoulder but we're reasonably confident that will settle down by Saturday." John Kirwan, the Japan coach, yesterday named a provisional group of 62 players including 11 new faces as he looks to prepare for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The former New Zealand great will halve the size of his "Brave Blossoms" squad before facing the Arabian Gulf among others in May's Asian Five Nations tournament, which will decide Asia's World Cup representatives.

"We will look to focus on our physical play this year," Kirwan said, looking ahead to his team's Five Nations opener away to South Korea on May 1. "We also want to improve our decision-making when we're physically tired during games and make sure we're still able to absorb tackles at those times." Hong Kong and Kazakhstan are also in the event, which began in 2008. The winners qualify automatically for next year's World Cup in New Zealand. @Email:akunawicz@thenational.ae