That’s the verdict from Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper, who had expected Retallick to be available for this weekend’s clash against the Crusaders in Suva, Fiji.
Retallick’s anticipated return from torn wrist ligaments for Saturday’s Kiwi derby was one that had already been delayed, as the 75-test second rower, who turns 28 on Friday, was expected to return to last week against the Reds in Hamilton, which his side won 19-13.
After sustaining the injury during his side’s 33-29 win over the Blues seven weeks ago, Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson said he expected his star man to return his side’s match against the Hurricanes two weeks later, but continual delays in Retallick’s return to action means he won’t be sighted until their final match of the season against the Rebels in Melbourne, at the earliest.
Joining Retallick in the medical ward is Chiefs and All Blacks teammate Nathan Harris, who left the field against the Reds with a dead leg.
Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said that Harris would be taking one of his All Blacks rest weeks instead of boarding the plane to Fiji, but he is expecting the 27-year-old hooker to also return against the Rebels on June 14.
Cooper also praised the return from a potentially career-ending broken neck injury by Sam Cane, who started his first match in seven months against the Reds since picking up the injury against South Africa last October.
“He’s easing in pretty hard, isn’t he? He did some brutal work [in 50 minutes against the Reds] and you probably don’t realise it until after you look at his game. Some of the hits he put in were huge,” Cooper said.
Cane’s presence within the Chiefs match day side will be integral to attaining an unlikely result against the competition-leading and reigning back-to-back champion Crusaders, as the Hamilton franchise continue to pursue their slim chances of qualifying for the play-offs.
After defending their tryline for the last half an hour against the Reds and finishing the contest with just 29 percent possession, 27 percent territory and a whopping tackle count of 257, Cooper said a similar approach against the Crusaders wouldn’t be sufficient enough for victory, but was proud of his side’s defensive efforts.
“They’re a tough bunch. We haven’t done a lot of physical contact [since] because of that effort,” he said.
“That’s the beauty of this team; they’ve got a great attitude.
“But that won’t be enough to beat the Crusaders, so we’ve got to be smarter, win the territory game, and keep the ball.”
The Crusaders currently sit atop the Super Rugby standings with 53 points to their name, while the Chiefs lie in 11th place with 27 points, three shy of a top eight berth.
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