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Blues reveal extent of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's and Harry Plummer's injuries

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

The Blues have lost promising playmaker Harry Plummer for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury, while star recruit Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be sidelined for several weeks.

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That was the verdict delivered by the Auckland-based franchise on Wednesday, four days after both players left the field prematurely in their side’s 24-22 Super Rugby Pacific win over the Chiefs at Eden Park.

In the immediate aftermath of the match, Blues head coach Leon MacDonald described the injuries of both players as “serious”, although further examination of Tuivasa-Sheck’s shoulder has revealed the damage isn’t as bad as first feared.

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The same can’t be said of Plummer, though, who will watch his teammates from the sideline for the rest of the campaign as his injured shoulder will require surgery.

It’s a devastating blow for the 23-year-old pivot, who had started at first-five in his side’s opening two matches of the year in the absence of concussed star Beauden Barrett.

“Really disappointing, obviously, for both of those players, especially Harry,” Blues defence coach Craig McGrath told media on Wednesday.

“Particularly as he’s had a couple of games and getting a bit of a run and getting some games under his belt, so naturally disappointing for him.”

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While the injury news is more positive for Tuivasa-Sheck, McGrath conceded that his development as a rugby union player will be delayed by his sideline spell.

“Rog, he obviously is just starting to find his feet. People forget that, yes, he’s been a professional athlete for a long time, but it was his second game of rugby on the weekend.

“He is getting better each week, so obviously the injury is going to slow that process down for him and his development.”

No time frame has yet been placed on when Tuivasa-Sheck will be available for action, as further assessment of his injury over the coming days will determine just how long he is out for.

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Fortunately for the Blues, Plummer has been replaced by Barrett in the starting lineup for Friday’s clash against the Highlanders at North Harbour Stadium in Albany.

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Barrett made his first appearance for the Blues in two years last weekend after shaking off a concussion that plagued him over summer after picking up a head knock while playing for the All Blacks against Ireland in November.

The two-time World Rugby Player of the Year will now make his first start for the Blues since returning from his season-long sabbatical in Japan last year.

“It’s good to have Baz back. He’s our vice-captain and a leader in our team,” McGrath said of Barrett.

“He definitely brings a real calm head to the group, obviously been around for a long time, but you just notice him on the training field, in and around the group off the field, just the calmness that he brings.”

Tuivasa-Sheck, meanwhile, has been replaced at second-five by veteran utility back Bryce Heem, while youngsters Sam Darry and Taine Plumtree have been added to the starting forward pack in place of Josh Goodhue and Tom Robinson, respectively.

“Taine’s really been nipping at the heels of everyone, really. He’s an athlete, that’s for sure. He’s a big body, he’s an athletic player, and he’s been rewarded, really, for all the good stuff that he’s done,” McGrath said.

“He had a super pre-season game [against] the Canes. We’re just rewarding him more than anything else, and we’re looking forward to seeing him go.

“Sam’s a good guy. He’s a legend. He’s a smart kid and he’s a smart operator around lineouts. He’s done some really good things for us off the bench.

“Everyone’s fungible in our group, and we’re looking forward to seeing Sam go and get a start alongside the old bull Luke Romano, which is good, so he’ll learn plenty off [of] him.”

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finn 8 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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