Rugby: Charlie Ngatai sent home to recover from concussion

Charlie Ngatai. Photo /  Stephen Parker
Charlie Ngatai. Photo / Stephen Parker

Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai has been sent home from the All Blacks to recover from his concussion issues.

Ngatai suffered the injury against the Highlanders on May 7 and, following the Chiefs' bye has missed the last two of his team's matches - a victory over the Rebels and a defeat to the Waratahs.

"Charlie has still got symptoms so we made a decision when he came in on Sunday to send him home," assistant coach Ian Foster said today. "We feel it's the best place for him for three or four days and we're reviewing that on a weekly basis.

"You've got to give people time and space until it comes right. We don't have a definite timetable but we feel the best way for him to recover properly is maybe to get out of the busyness of here and to be at home."

Blues midfielder George Moala has come in as back-up to Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa and Seta Tamanivalu, but he is under an injury cloud himself and, according to Foster, won be running at 100 per cent until Thursday.

The team's other injury concerns ahead of the first test against Wales at Eden Park a week on Saturday is lock Sam Whitelock, still on light duties due to a hamstring strain, and halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who is recovering from a hand injury.

Kerr-Barlow, not with the squad for the past two days due to a family issue, will probably start passing work at the end of the week, Foster said.

"The players are in recovery mode, the coaches are in full-steam mode, so it's a matter of trying to get a nice balance," Foster said after the team trained at Trusts Stadium in Waitakere today. "We haven't been able to do too much too fast on the training ground but there's plenty of content for us to chug our way through this week."

Meanwhile, the Chiefs announced today that Ngatai has re-committed to them for the next two seasons.

"The opportunity to play for the Gallagher Chiefs and All Blacks was a massive driver for me in signing for a further two years," he said. "I've really enjoyed my time at the Chiefs, in particular the good coaching, culture and the great bunch of boys that are awesome to play alongside."

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