Hurricanes face playoffs bid without Vito
DEPUTY SPORTS EDITOR
Coach Mark Hammett is confident the Hurricanes can deal with the potential absence of Victor Vito in their bid for the Super Rugby playoffs.
The All Blacks' blindside flanker was today ruled out for 3-5 weeks to recover from medial ligament damage in his knee, sustained during the 42-10 win over Ireland on Saturday.
The time frame rules Vito out of the remaining two tests of the series, and makes him a doubtful starter for the Hurricanes' next match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 30.
Hammett was still awaiting full details of Vito's injury at Hurricanes training in Wellington today. He pointed out the
Hurricanes were without him for their 42-18 win over the Sharks in New Plymouth on April 6.
''We want our best players to play, week in, week out, he's an All Black and he had a great game the other night. But he missed the game against the Sharks and the game before that [a 47-38 loss to the Cheetahs] and the boys performed well,'' Hammett said.
''It's part of the game and it's something we need to deal with if it means he's out longer. Hopefully he's not, not just for our campaign but also for the All Blacks.''
The Hurricanes have the bye after the Crusaders match, then finish the regular season against the table-topping Chiefs in Wellington on July 13. Vito will likely be available for that match if his recovery goes to plan.
The Hurricanes sit sixth during the competition hiatus, currently inside the playoff cut.
There was some good news for the Hurricanes today, with Hammett saying winger Cory Jane (ankle) and flanker Karl Lowe (knee) were both on track to return against the Crusaders. Both were sidelined during the loss to the Brumbies on May 18.
''He [Jane] is going pretty well and we're expecting he should be right by the Crusaders week but that's not a definite, and Karl Lowe is similar,'' Hammett said.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes confirmed fullback Andre Taylor and utility back Alapati Leiua had re-signed with the franchise.
Taylor, who has 10 tries for the season, signed for the next two years while Leiua's contract is for 2013 only.
The Hurricanes reassembled today to prepare for an exhibition match against the Queensland Reds on the Sunshine Coast this Friday.
They summoned Julian Savea's younger brother, loose forward and New Zealand sevens international Ardie, to their squad while No 8 Mike Coman will captain the side.
Frontliners Ben May, Jason Eaton, Tim Bateman and Charlie Ngatai will be rested while halfback TJ Perenara was named on the bench.
Hurricanes: James Marshall, Richard Buckman/Waisake Naholo, Alapati Leiua, Jayden Hayward, Andre Taylor, Tusi Pisi, Chris Eaton, Mike Coman (c), Jack Lam, Brad Shields, James Broadhurst, Mark Reddish, Michael Bent, Motu Matu'u, Reg Goodes.
Reserves: Dane Coles/David Hall, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen/Tristan Moran, Faifili Levave/Jeremy Thrush, Ardie Savea, Frae Wilson, Daniel Kirkpatrick, TJ Perenara.
Follow Hurricanes news on Twitter @dp_hurricanes
- © Fairfax NZ News
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