Coach suggests retiring No 1 jersey after injury

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2012
Arden David-Perrot
Photosport
DOMINANT DISPLAY: Arden David-Perrot celebrates scoring a try against Hawke’s Bay.

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Wellington coach Chris Boyd has joked about retiring the Lions' No 1 jersey, after losing another loosehead prop to injury.

Reggie Goodes was the first, fracturing an eye socket in Wellington's NPC round one win over Manawatu.

Now Arden David-Perrot has a knee problem, which will definitely keep him out of Saturday's clash with Canterbury and possibly the following games against Waikato and Auckland as well.

"So Solomona Sakalia will take that jersey. Whether we retire the No 1 or he'll play in another number, I'm not sure, but he'll probably start at loosehead in some kind of jersey," Boyd said yesterday.

New Zealand under-20 prop Eric Sione has been drafted into the Lions' squad, along with development team member Chris Eves.

Jeff Toomaga-Allen, in his first season, and Whetu Henry (second) are the other fit props left in the team but Boyd has no concerns about depth.

"We are blessed in Wellington with extraordinary potential in that area. We can probably go down by a couple more [props] and still feel semi-comfortable," he said.

Flanker Serge Lilo's wretched injury run has continued and a hamstring strain will keep him out of action for a few weeks. On the plus side, lock Ross Filipo is likely to be fit to play Canterbury, while first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga should be back for the Waikato match on September 15.

Sopoaga suffered a shoulder injury during the Highlanders' Super Rugby campaign, but has resumed full training. Boyd said his return would be likely to cause a reshuffle in the backline, where specialist second five-eighth Tim Bateman has been running the show in the No 10 jersey.

Wellington top the premiership table by four points, from Canterbury and Taranaki, and have the stingiest defence in either tier of the competition. Boyd, though, says the Lions have yet to play the tougher teams so little can be read from the first three rounds.

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- The Dominion Post

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