Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Latimer will miss Crusaders, may need surgery

Tanerau Latimer may need surgery on a knee he injured last weekend. Photo / Getty
Tanerau Latimer may need surgery on a knee he injured last weekend. Photo / Getty

A knee injury has ruled Blues loose forward Tanerau Latimer out of the team to play the Crusaders at Eden Park on Saturday.

There is a possibility Latimer might need surgery on the knee after hurting it in his team's 17-13 victory over the Force in Perth last weekend, and he will join fellow No7 Blake Gibson, who is nursing a broken thumb, on the sidelines.

Kara Pryor will get his first start for the Blues as Latimer's replacement, with Jack Ram brought on to the reserves bench, as the home side attempt to put right their round two battering at the hands of the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Blues today trained for the first time this week following their travel from Western Australia, with coach Tana Umaga saying many of his players had yet to adjust to the time zone following their trip from South Africa. Centre George Moala, who was bracketed with Male Sa'u, appeared to come through training okay.

Former Crusader Billy Guyton gets a second straight start at halfback with top try scorer Melani Nanai to again start at fullback. Guyton also started against the Crusaders earlier this season when Todd Blackadder's pack dismantled the Blues in a 28-13 win.

The Blues will be hoping to continue their form following a reasonable successful three weeks away in which they broke an away win duck of two years to beat the Kings in Port Elizabeth and ended it by clinging to their lead over the Force. The low point occurred in between when they were thrashed 43-5 by the Lions in Johannesburg.

The Crusaders, who will be missing All Black lock Sam Whitelock with a hamstring injury, are likely to welcome back giant wing Nemani Nadolo following the end of his ban for a tip tackle.

Blues team to play the Crusaders at Eden Park on Saturday:

Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Piers Francis, Tevita Li, Ihaia West, Billy Guyton, Steven Luatua, Kara Pryor, Jerome Kaino, Josh Bekhuis, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons (c), Sam Prattley.

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Sione Mafileo, Hoani Matenga, Jack Ram, Bryn Hall, Male Sa'u, Lolagi Visinia.

- NZ Herald

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