Rugby: Blood clots threaten Schwalger's season

By Daniel Richardson

John Schwalger. Photo / Getty Images
John Schwalger. Photo / Getty Images

Hurricanes prop John Schwalger could be out for the season after missing Friday's win over the Blues.

Schwalger saw doctors for flu-like symptoms, only to be told he had blood clots on the lung.

There is a chance the condition could rule Schwalger out for the campaign, which will put a dampener on what has otherwise been a good-news month for the franchise.

The Hurricanes are in the midst of a three-match winning streak, success that has been put down to an emphasis on preparation.

It's not that they didn't prepare before but their approach has become more refined.

"It's the professionalism around it," halfback TJ Perenara said. "We know games are won before we are out on the field under the lights.

"We got the hard word at the start of the year that preparation will win us games and the boys are really committed to it and I think that's definitely the biggest thing for us."

The improved preparation, which has included extra study sessions, has meant less repetition of training drills. "It's just more in-depth about what we are going to do and what an opposition brings for us and how we can nullify their strengths and hopefully exploit their weaknesses," Perenara said.

Rather than breaking down opponents with an overload of numbers, they scout patterns.

During their win streak, which was extended on Friday night as they beat the Blues 39-20 in Wellington, the Hurricanes have looked more composed than when they opened the season with a trio of defeats.

They now turn their attention to completing a sweep of the competition's primary colours when they host the Reds on Saturday.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett smiled when asked if he thought his side now had sufficient momentum to mount a playoff push.

"I'm not a big fan of momentum," he said. "That's for psychics and fortune-tellers; that's future stuff. I'm more interested in what we can deal with and what's going well for us and when it's going well, what does that look like and how do we continue to replicate that."

Meanwhile, Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor confirmed he had signed with Japanese Top League club Kintetsu Liners and will link with them at the end of the season.

Taylor, who has played for the national under-20s and New Zealand Maori team, was in contention for an All Blacks call-up in 2012 but his form faded last year.

The 26-year-old has represented Manawatu and Taranaki at provincial level and has been a member of the Hurricanes since 2010.

"It's always a tough choice, going overseas or trying to play for your country," Taylor said. "But not everyone's going to be an All Black so do you carry on chasing the All Black dream or go and set yourself up for life - I've gone with [the latter]."

- Herald on Sunday

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