The Chiefs’ winless Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign has been dealt another blow as up-and-coming wing Solomon Alaimalo has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a dislocated shoulder.
The 24-year-old speedster was injured as he scored a try for the Waikato franchise in their 21-17 defeat to the Blues at Eden Park on Sunday.
Diving in to score in the left-hand corner, Alaimalo was left wreathing in pain on the ground after Blues wing Caleb Clarke fell on top of him awkwardly in an attempt to prevent the try being scored.
The Chiefs subsequently released a statement on Tuesday to confirm that Alaimalo would miss the team’s final two matches of the season against the Crusaders in Hamilton and Hurricanes in Wellington.
Recovery timeframes for shoulder dislocations can vary between three to four months, meaning Alaimalo is also likely to miss the majority of the Mitre 10 Cup season for Waikato.
Alaimalo posted on Instagram in light of the news, saying he’s looking to bounce back from the injury “better for it”.
“Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the kind messages of support,” he said.
“Everything happens for a reason and I’m looking forward to this challenge and coming back better for it.
“Will still be supporting my @chiefsrugby boys over the next couple of weeks.”
Alaimalo’s injury blow is the last thing Chiefs boss Warren Gatland needed in a season where his squad have failed to register a single victory as the competition enters its final few weeks.
His side will now need to play its last two fixtures with an extensive injury list, that currently features Angus Ta’avao (quad), Naitoa Ah Kuoi (concussion), Aidan Ross (calf) and Tiaan Falcon (knee).
Alaimalo, though, joins a group of players who have been ruled out for the rest of the competition, including Atu Moli (hips), Laghlan McWhannell (knee), Luke Jacobson (hand), Michael Allardice (shoulder), Nathan Harris (shoulder), Ryan Coxon (thumb) and Sam McNicol (ankle).
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