Super rugby: Chiefs may call Tameifuna

By Shane Hurndell

Ben Afeaki will be out of action for the next 12 weeks. Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby prop Ben Tameifuna has already played alongside his uncle Sona Taumalolo at ITM Cup level.

In four days time, Tameifuna, 20, may be playing alongside Taumalolo in the Super Rugby second round clash between the Chiefs and Blues at Waikato Stadium.

Such is the extent of the Chiefs injury crisis among the props after their 23-19 loss to the Highlanders in Hamilton on Saturday night.

Ben Afeaki will be out of action for the next 12 weeks with a broken right forearm and Toby Smith will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a pulled calf. This means Tameifuna, Tonga World Cup star Taumalolo and Taranaki's Shane Cleaver are the only fit props in the Chiefs squad.

Tameifuna, who played for the Under-20 World Cup-winning Baby Blacks last year, will hear tomorrow whether he will start or be on the subs bench for the Blues match on Friday night. Chiefs assistant coach and former Magpies co-coach Tom Coventry is the ideal person to judge whether or not Tameifuna is ready for a starting role.

Coventry has mentored former New Zealand Secondary Schools representative Tameifuna since his Year 11 days at Hastings Boys' High School. Tameifuna didn't make the Chiefs 22 on Saturday.

His 2011 Magpies teammates, Taumalolo, former All Black hooker Hika Elliot and lock Brodie Retallick, all started. Magpies first five-eighth Andrew Horrell was in the 22 but didn't get any game time. Former Magpies hooker Mo Schwalger made his Chiefs debut when he took the field as a substitute for Elliot.

Fullback Israel Dagg was the only 2011 Magpie to play in a winning Super Rugby team during the weekend's first round. His Crusaders pipped the Blues 19-18 at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday night. Ngati Kahungunu's 2011 Sportsperson of the Year, Dagg, had a mixed match. An attempted early clearance from Dagg was charged down leading to the Blues first try by flanker Chris Lowery.

Right on fulltime Dagg partially charged down an attempt by the Blues substitute first five-eighth, Te Aute College product Piri Weepu, to win the match with a dropped goal.

Magpies halfback Chris Eaton played the first 52 minutes of the Hurricanes 39-26 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town yesterday. One of the Magpies 2011 first five-eighths, Daniel Kirkpatrick, was on the Canes subs bench but didn't get any game time.

Tameifuna's Baby Blacks teammate Beauden Barrett started in the No10 jersey for the Canes and had a 21 point haul from a try, four penalties and two conversions.

- Hamilton News

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