Chiefs star's ulcer scare
Chiefs star's ulcer scareSHARE
The injury-ravaged Chiefs were dealt another blow when the New Zealand Rugby Union blocked their attempt to draft in midfield cover from overseas.
Utility back Tim Nanai-Williams will be out until after the June international window, after being hospitalised with a stomach ulcer – with Charlie Ngatai, Andrew Horrell and Richard Kahui already midfield casualties.
Coach Dave Rennie told the New Zealand media they had a target lined up but were shot down.
"We tried to get a replacement, we actually had a really good option overseas," Rennie said.
"He was keen to come, his club was going to release him and New Zealand [Rugby Union] wouldn't allow it so we're back to square one."
This follows after the Chiefs were dealt two serious blows to their Super Rugby championship defence late last week, with Gareth Anscombe and Nanai-Williams both ruled out for six weeks.
Anscombe, Super Rugby's leading points scorer, fractured a bone near the big toe of his right foot at training last Thursday – although the injury was discovered only shortly before kick-off against the Force last Friday, following a scan.
Nanai-Williams, who is due to be released from Waikato Hospital on Monday, is believed to have picked up the stomach ulcer as a result the anti-inflammatories he had been taking for a constant groin problem.
These injuries come after Richard Kahui was ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season with yet another shoulder injury, which requires surgery and may even end the All Blacks utility's career.
Anscombe's injury meant Aaron Cruden, who is overdue a rest, had to wear the No.10 jersey after initially being listed in the reserves.
Rennie said Dan Waenga, a former Chiefs development player, would be called in to cover flyhalf in Anscombe's absence.
It's bad luck for the utility back, Nanai-Williams, who has been outstanding for the Chiefs this season – his attacking ability in midfield making the All Blacks selectors, who have midfield issues of their own, take notice.
"He's certainly attacked really well,'' said Rennie.
"He's stepped up big time for us. We've had a bit of a crisis in midfield and he's played most of his rugby at No.13 this year and done a good job.''
Sources: APNZ & Newstalk ZB