Rugby: Noakes a casualty for Blues

Chris Noakes tackles Patrick Lambie of the Sharks. Photo / Getty Images
Chris Noakes tackles Patrick Lambie of the Sharks. Photo / Getty Images

The Blues' 22-20 defeat to the Sharks in Durban has been compounded by news that first five-eighths Chris Noakes suffered a thigh strain and will return to New Zealand.

Utility back Marty McKenzie will fly out to Bloemfontein as a replacement. Noakes is expected to recover in time to face the Chiefs in the Blues' final game of the regular season at Eden Park on July 13.

No8 Peter Saili has a haematoma and hooker Keven Mealamu has some tightness in his calf, but both players are expected to be fit to play the Cheetahs this weekend.

The Blues did well to recover from 14-0 down to lead 20-17 at King's Park, only to concede a last-minute try. Sir John Kirwan's men are eighth on the table, two points below the sixth-placed Cheetahs.

- APNZ

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