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Sivivatu's Rugby Year Over As Chiefs' Injury Woes Grow

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Sivivatu's Rugby Year Over As Chiefs' Injury Woes Grow

Auckland, April 28 NZPA - All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu's rugby year is all but over after confirmation today that he will need a shoulder operation.

The winger returned to Super 14 action for the Chiefs last Friday after a recovering from a knee strain, but has continued to have problems with his left shoulder, with repeated dislocations.

Coach Ian Foster said Sivivatu, 28, saw a specialist yesterday and the decision was made that he should undergo surgery in about three weeks.

Foster said the usual recovery period was about six months.

"We will obviously get a definitive number once they go in and do the operation," he said.

"But I would say that's basically him for 2010."

Foster said Sivivatu had been doing rehabilitation for the shoulder for the past 18 months, "and it's still coming out".

"The fact that it's continued to happen really has made the decision pretty clear and obvious."

Sivivatu, 28, has played 43 tests for New Zealand since making his debut against his country of birth, Fiji, in 2005.

He becomes another casualty in what has been an injury-plagued season for the Chiefs, who are languishing in 10th spot ahead of their match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday night.

Since the Chiefs' 25-25 draw with the Cheetahs in Hamilton last Friday, Stephen Donald and Sione Lauaki have been added to a list that already included All Blacks Mils Muliaina and Mike Delany.

First five-eighth Donald suffered a calf strain in the match and is rated a possibility to come back against Waratahs next week.

Lauaki, who came off the bench against the Cheetahs, bruised an arm when crashing his car through a fence early last Saturday in the latest of a series of off-field incidents that have blighted the loose forward's career.

"At the moment, we're giving him some time off," Foster said.

"But we expect him to be back fit and available next week as long as his arm is all right."

With Sivivatu out, Jason Hona, 23, who has had one Super 14 appearance off the bench, will wear the No 11 jersey.

Donald's vacancy has been filled by having Cullum Bruce move in one spot to first five-eighth, while All Black Richard Kahui, relegated to the reserves last week, returns as the starting centre.

In another change to the starting 15, Sona Taumalolo returns from a shoulder injury at loosehead prop, but Junior Poluleuligaga has retained the No 9 jersey, keeping All Black Brendon Leonard on the bench.

Foster said he had gone with the status quo at halfback because of a combination of Poluleuligaga's performance against the Cheetahs and the fact that Leonard was struggling earlier this week by a leg injury he picked up in that match.

Unlike the Chiefs, the seventh-placed Hurricanes, who are seven points outside the top four with three rounds to go, retain firm hopes of making the playoffs,

While Foster expected the Hurricanes to be fired up, he said his own team would have plenty of motivation.

"We are a proud team," he said.

"We've got some guys who are getting a lot of game time that might not have expected it. For us as a unit, we want to use this time to get stronger as a squad in the future."

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