The Chiefs will be without All Blacks trio Damian McKenzie, Nepo Laulala and Angus Ta’avao for their crucial derby against the Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday.
Warren Gatland’s men came from behind to beat the Blues in their season opener last week, but the win came at a cost.
Props Nepo Laulala and Angus Ta’avao were both injured and forced to leave the field early against the Blues. Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes confirmed the front rowers are unlikely to suit up against the Crusaders.
‘Nepo’s got a few issues going on with a medial ligament. I don’t know the big answer there but it’s likely he’ll have a lay-off for a little while,’ Barnes said. ‘And Gus has got a few niggles going on and we’re just not prepared to risk that at the moment. We’ll look at whatever we have to with him to make sure long term he’s good for us for the whole season.’
McKenzie also skipped last week’s match and will do so again this week, according to Barnes.
‘It’s one of those ones where we’ll probably err on the cautious side with him if he’s not 100%,’ Barnes explained. ‘I’m not on top with what happened with the backs training but I would imagine if they’re not 100% confident we’ll wait another week.’
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