The Chiefs have had to replace one of their props for next season before pre-season training has even started.
Bay of Plenty and former Waikato prop Josh Hohneck has been forced to pull out of the squad after badly damaging his ankle in a farming accident while drenching cattle.
He has been replaced by Auckland and former Blues front rower Pauliasi Manu, who was originally signed by the Melbourne Rebels for next season but was subsequently let go because of concern over a previous neck condition.
The extent of Hohneck's injury and the predicted rehabilitation length means he will not be fit to play Super Rugby in 2013. However, he is determined to fight his way back into the squad for 2014 after this year impressing sufficiently as part of the wider training group to earn a full contract.
"This is hugely disappointing for us and Josh," Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said.
"He's a top man and made a big impression on us last season. However, we have found an excellent replacement in Pauliasi Manu."
Rennie said different organisations had different medical processes but the Chiefs were "very comfortable" with the high level of investigations that had taken place in New Zealand into Manu's fitness.
A spinal specialist, Manu's ITM Cup doctor, Chiefs doctor James McGarvey and New Zealand Rugby Union medical director Ian Murphy had all cleared the Auckland prop completely fit to play.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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