Rugby: Chiefs' coach hamstrung by ankle injuries to star backline

By Steve Deane

Things just went from bad to worse for the Chiefs.

A trifecta of ankle injuries has forced coach Ian Foster to raid his wider training group as he attempts to cobble together a backline for Saturday's must-win match against the Bulls in Rotorua.

Richard Kahui and Soseni Anesi have already been ruled out of the match, while Sitiveni Sivivatu and Dwayne Sweeney are doubtful at best.

Kahui, Anesi and Sivivatu all sprained ankles during a 10-minute period in the second half of Friday's defeat by the Stormers.

"Not only have we lost, we've also run out of ice," quipped Foster shortly after the match.

Former Auckland centre Roimata Hansell-Pune and promising young utility back Jackson Willison have been called up from the wider training group. With just eight fully fit backs left from the original squad, both will likely feature in the 22 to face the Bulls.

With captain Jono Gibbes (hamstring) and halfback Jamie Nutbrown (knee) still three to four weeks away, the injury situation at the franchise is nearing crisis point.

"It is not what a coach wants to see," Foster said of watching Kahui, Anesi and Sivivatu mooch about training with moon boots strapped to their feet.

Auckland lock Jay Williams has also been added to the squad as a replacement for season-long casualties Kristian Ormsby and Mark Burman.

Williams had been working full time "trying to pay the bills and keep life ticking over". Last Tuesday, he received a phone call from Foster telling him to "drop everything and head to Hamilton".

"I wasn't expecting it at all. I was absolutely rapt when I got that phone call."

He had kept himself in shape during the off-season. "I wanted to keep fit for club [rugby] and just stay on top of the game."

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