Hawke's Bay's former New Zealand under-21 rugby representative Dan Waenga will have an operation on his back injury tomorrow.
Waenga, 21, has been nagged by the injury for the past 12 months. The Taradale kingpin hopes to be out of action for no more than 12 weeks.
"That's the plan but obviously people react differently to these operations and we'll see how things go once the rehabilitation period starts," Waenga said.
But Kelt Capital Magpies fans shouldn't panic. There will be no shortage of contenders for the No.10 jersey come Air New Zealand Cup time if Saturday's first round in the Tui Nash Cup premier club competition is any indication.
Last season's Magpies regulars, Matt Berquist and Aayden Clarke, were both prominent for their respective Tremains Napier Old Boys Marist and Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports clubs. We can add Progressive Meats Havelock North's Davis Tavita (pictured left) to the list too.
Tavita, 19, proved he had recovered well from a broken right leg suffered in July last year with an outstanding display for his side in their 44-14 win against Clarke's side at Park Island. He scored two tries, impressed with his option taking and varied passing. Tavita's outside backs were given plenty of opportunities with the ball in hand and winger Levi Armstrong, who grabbed a hat-trick, was the main beneficiary.
"Yeah it was a good way to come back ... I thought this game would be a lot tougher," said the former Hastings Boys' High School player.
"My main goal is the Hawke's Bay under-20s but it would be good to get another crack at the Magpies too," said Tavita who played in a Magpies pre-season game against Manawatu last year.
Berquist scored 29 points in his team's 83-0 thrashing of MAC at Park Island with nine conversions, two penalties and a try. He directed a backline which relished the dominance of the host pack.
Winger Migao Lauano and Phil Huxford both scored hat-tricks. The youthful MAC outfit was guilty of losing possession too easily at confrontation time but to their credit kept trying until the final whistle.
Central's Stephen Baker was another No.10 to shine in his team's 27-15 win against Tamatea at Waipukurau. Central coach Robbie Hunter said Baker directed play well and succeeded with five of his six attempts at goal.
Former Tasman and Canterbury rep George Naoupu was again the pick of the Tamatea side at No.8.
Former Magpie Ryan Lewis was another No.10 to impress in his side's 14-12 win against Russell Road's Hastings Rugby and Sports at Elwood Park. Winning coach Stu Cruden said Lewis combined well with his new halfback Chris Easton and second five-eighth Jason Shoemark while lock Lua Lokotui and flanker Matt Head were the best of his forwards. "It was one of those games which could have gone either way," said Cruden.
Fullback James Rosenberg kicked four penalties from six attempts at goal for Hastings. Prop Andre Russell, flanker Pama Petia and No.8 Wirihana Raihania had high work rates in the host pack while halfback Daniel Morath and winger Feavai Va'a had memorable patches in the Hastings backline.
Clive fullback Herman Ah Kiong was the third player in the competition to grab a hat-trick. It came in his side's 65-6 win against Napier Technical at Farndon Park.
Prop Nathan Bruce, flanker Api Sione and lock Corey Moran were a powerful trio in the host pack while winger Jacob Lowe impressed in his premier debut.
English flanker Mark Braidwood and hooker Justin Duncan toiled tirelessly in the Tech pack.