Piri Weepu diagnosed with hole in heart

TIME OUT: Piri Weepu of the Blues looks on from the sideline during a match against the Chiefs in February.
TIME OUT: Piri Weepu of the Blues looks on from the sideline during a match against the Chiefs in February.

Tests have confirmed Blues and former All Black halfback Piri Weepu has a small hole in his heart which is likely to have caused the minor stroke he suffered around March 1.

A Blues spokesman confirmed the latest prognosis on the 71-test World Cup winner and said his case would be further reviewed by specialists next week to determine the best course of action.

The Blues spokesman said it was not clear at this stage whether Weepu would require surgery to correct the heart defect, but all indications were that he would make a full recovery and be able to return to the team after a short period of convalescence.

Weepu was released from Auckland Hospital on Thursday afternoon, and visited the Blues prior to their captain's run on Friday where he spoke to his team-mates.

Blues doctor Stephen Kara told reporters on Thursday that should scans show a small defect in the heart, "then he would undergo some minor surgry to correct that".

At this stage that decision has not yet been made, with Weepu due to have his case reviewed with a heart specialist early next week.

"His long-term playing future looks pretty good, but in the short term he has to take a brief stint on the sidelines to ensure risk is minimised as much as we can," Dr Kara said on Thursday.

Weepu's mother Kura has travelled north from Wellington to be with her son.

The 30-year-old played three games for the Blues subsequent to his stroke which is thought to have occurred the day after the Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders on February 28.

But continued headaches and some problems with speech saw the veteran halfback undertake scans on Monday that reveled he had suffered a minor stroke back when he first presented with symptoms.

The Blues host the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday night.

The Dominion Post