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'It is what it is': Bristol confirm lengthy spell out for Luatua

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol have admitted that the pre-season injury suffered last month by former All Blacks back-rower Steven Luatua has turned out to be serious enough to sideline him until between mid-November and early December. The 31-year-old, who arrived at the Bears in 2017 after a 15-cap career for New Zealand, was set to play the August 19 friendly away to Brive only to pull up lame in the final training session before travelling.


The setback left him wearing a protective moon boot and director of rugby Pat Lam said at the time, “Stevie had been flying. It was probably the best I had seen him in pre-season. It is very frustrating, he was going to go to Brive and then in the last session he strained his calf. At the moment he is probably not going to make the start of the season.”

With a definite prognosis now known, Luatua will miss way more than just the start of the season. “Stevie is going to be at least a twelve-weeker,” admitted Lam at his midweek media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s round two Gallagher Premiership game at Wasps.

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“He is looking around mid-November, December. It’s okay. It is what it is. It is an opportunity for Stevie to get better and he still contributes off the field.

“It is pleasing that we have got Sam Jeffries who can play across the back row, Jake Heenan across the back row, having Sam Lewis on board is great, also Chris Vui who can jump into six as well and Dan Thomas is not too far off from his (ankle) niggles, and having Magnus Bradbury is great. Guys will step up.”


Another player who will be absent from this weekend’s trip to Wasps will be Ellis Genge, last Saturday’s man of the match in the dramatic win over Bath. The ‘rest’ agreement with England will see him sidelined until the round three home match the following week against London Irish. “We put out a comprehensive plan that Eddie (Jones) was very pleased with, his team were pleased with, the RFU, the PRL and the RPA,” explained Lam, who has a plan plotted for Genge through to 2023.


“If we didn’t put a plan out I 100 per cent would have said, ‘No, he is no playing (against Bath), you have to wait’. Having a good staff I always say is important because these specialists all work together to get the right plan and most importantly the player is front and centre to ensure he is able to play at his best and enjoy what he does.”


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