Rugby: Injury toll compounds Chiefs' loss

Lelia Masaga of the Chiefs is helped from the field. Photo / Getty Images
Lelia Masaga of the Chiefs is helped from the field. Photo / Getty Images

The Chiefs' Super Rugby campaign got off to a bad start with the team losing to the Highlanders in Hamilton last night, but today (Sun) it got a whole lot worse.

Their 23-19 loss to the unfancied southerners was punctuated by injuries to five main men, a casualty list that was confirmed today.

Prop Ben Afeaki is the worst of the walking wounded, with his broken right forearm set to keep him out of action for 12 weeks. Fellow prop Toby Smith suffered a pulled calf and will be missing for 4-6 weeks, giving new coach Dave Rennie an immediate headache in the front row.

Halfback Brendon Leonard's pulled hamstring will see the former All Black sidelined for 8-10 weeks, while loose forward Alex Bradley will miss three weeks with an ankle problem.

Wing Lelia Masaga rounds out the over-crowded medical room, with his knee injury sidelining him for at least three weeks, though a scan set for this week could increase that number.

It all makes for a horror start for Rennie, and things don't get any easier with the Chiefs hosting fellow first-round losers the Blues in Hamilton on Friday night.

- APNZ

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