Flynn and Heinz join casualty list

Last updated 05:00 10/03/2014
WALKING WOUNDED: The Crusaders are looking to build on their tight win over the Stormers but may struggle due to a mounting injury-toll.

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Injuries could force Corey Flynn and Willi Heinz out of the Crusaders for a lengthy period.

Hooker Flynn suffered a suspected fractured eye socket in the first half of Saturday night's scratchy 14-13 win over the Stormers and needs a scan to determine the damage.

"It was only after the game that they realised something wasn't quite right," coach Todd Blackadder said yesterday. "He talked about some discomfort at halftime but it didn't seem too over the top at the time."

If the fracture is confirmed, Flynn, who was replaced by Ben Funnell in the 53rd minute, may need surgery and potentially be sidelined for several months.

Halfback Heinz suffered a calf muscle injury and Blackadder isn't hopeful of seeing him back in Super Rugby any time soon.

"He's pulled his calf and it sounds like a serious one. That means Mitchell (Drummond) will come in."

Their season is only three weeks old but the Crusaders' casualty ward is already busy.

On the injury list are flankers Richie McCaw (fractured thumb) and George Whitelock (strained adductor muscle), and centre/wing Adam Whitelock (hamstring). Wing Nafi Tuitavake may recover from his hamstring to meet the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday night.

The win over the Stormers has eased some pressure on the Crusaders but anyone who watched the match at Christchurch Stadium knows Blackadder's side is still operating well short of expectations.

While the Stormers presented a stoic defensive effort, with the magnificent Schalk Burger treating the 14,000 fans to a footballer of rare talent, the Crusaders' lineout malfunctions, lack of love for ball at the breakdowns and lateral attack put a dampener on the celebrations.

They did well to retain their composure after trailing 13-3 in the second half but it was immensely frustrating to have to wait until the 70th minute before Kieron Fonotia scored their first and only try.

Serious consideration must surely be given to removing centre Reynold Lee-Lo who has failed to match the strong form he displayed at the Hurricanes last season.

"It's certainly something we discussed after the game," Blackadder said in reference to a potential midfield reshuffle. "It's one area we don't feel we are over-comfortable with at the moment.

"There is a little pressure on there. Rey's playing reasonably OK but we're just not getting that punch we need. I think that is with the team not yet playing with a lot of confidence right across the board."

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Ryan Crotty could shift out to centre, allowing Colin Slade and Tom Taylor to fill the No 10 and 12 positions.

Transferring Slade to first five-eighth would mean putting Israel Dagg back to his rightful position at fullback after he started at wing.

Yesterday Zac Guildford and Nemani Nadolo, in his first start in New Zealand, played at fullback and left wing respectively for the Crusaders development XV in the 39-17 loss to their Hurricanes counterparts at the West Melton club.

The massive Nadolo, who recently arrived here after playing in Japan, had a satisfactory outing but may not be ready for Super Rugby.

Nadolo scored two tries, one a barging run from a set play, but a lack of possession reduced his effectiveness and he recklessly kicked when he should have had a run in the second half.

- The Press


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