Regular back-up hooker Andrew Makalio was a late withdrawal from the bench and missed his team’s semifinal clash against the Hurricanes. Makalio suffered a calf strain at training and is unlikely to be fit for the final.
Makalio has stood in for regular reserve hooker Ben Funnell for most of the season, who managed seven appearances before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Sebastian Siataga, who replaced Makalio in the No. 16 jersey for the semi-final, is also out for the final.
After replacing starter Codie Taylor in the 71st minute, Siataga lasted just two minutes before he had to leave the field with what looked like an arm injury, and was sent to the hospital for scans. It was later confirmed that he will require surgery.
Head coach Scott Robertson confirmed Tuafua suffered a broken arm in the win and will require surgery, while Crotty left the field in the 73rd minute to undergo a head injury assessment.
“We will monitor him [Crotty] during the week, he passed the first part of it. He did get a bell ringer and we will just trust our medical staff with the process,” Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said post-match.
Tighthead prop Michael Alaalatoa is also in doubt after tweaking his back.
The Crusaders – who have won a league-best seven titles in their history – are hoping to go back-to-back when they meet the Lions in the grand final for the second consecutive year next weekend.
In other news:
RugbyPass has created a next generation rugby rating system, based on machine learning and shaped by game winning moments. The system (RPI) is a world first for its complexity and comprehensive embrace of northern and southern hemisphere players and teams. By using in-depth data analysis, RPI determines exactly what it takes to win, in real time. Explore the RPI now!