Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea in line for early return from knee injury
Savea has been out of action since he tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) against the Crusaders in round seven of Super Rugby Aotearoa last month, and had been ruled out for a period of six-to-eight weeks.
However, the 27-year-old loose forward is on track to return to action a week earlier than expected, provided he gets through a contact session unscathed at Hurricanes training on Monday.
“He did a good session today [Friday], a game replacement with the guys who aren’t playing club footy and he got through that,” Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland said shortly after his side’s 35-13 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Wellington.
“There’s another couple of steps that he has to get through in the early part of next week to be available and if he doesn’t get to where he feels really comfortable, then we’ll wait another week.
“We’ll always back his feel, he’s got a pretty good feel for his body. We watched him pretty closely today and we’ll do the same on Monday around another level of contact. We’ll be guided by him, definitely.”
Savea’s return to action could coincide with Ruben Love’s concussion comeback after the talented youngster left the field in the opening minutes of last week’s victory over the Waratahs due to a heavy head knock.
All three have done so adequately, as the Hurricanes have been undefeated since their golden point defeat to the Crusaders five weeks ago.
A 41-22 victory over the Highlanders in their final Super Rugby Aotearoa match late last month was followed by a thrilling 64-48 win over the Waratahs in their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground a fortnight later.
That win in Sydney was followed up by another bonus point victory against the Rebels on Friday, which leaves the Hurricanes at the top of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman standings.
Victory over the Force, who succumbed to a second straight defeat to Kiwi opposition on Friday when they lost 25-15 to the Highlanders in Perth, could keep the Wellington franchise atop of the standings heading into the last two weeks of the competition ahead of the June 19 final.
The weekend will be rounded out at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, where the Reds do battle with the Crusaders in a clash between the Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa champions.
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