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Northland's preparations for their NPC rugby match against Canterbury in Whangarei on Saturday have got off to a less than perfect start.
A long list of injuries sidelined several players at training last night, among them captain Glenn Taylor and his locking partner Vula Maimuri.
Another four players were also on the invalids list with Northland coach Bryce Woodward hoping all six will be cleared to play before tomorrow's final training session when the team will be named.
"You don't worry about it. If they (players) are down, put someone else in there and get on with it," Woodward said.
"But with our lack of depth you obviously just can't ignore these injuries, it is a matter of putting other guys in there to do the work. It is what happens, people learn by experience."
The injury toll though may rob Northland not only of their captain and lineout star but also try scoring wizard Rupeni Caucaunibuca who is battling an ankle strain.
The speedy Fijian was the star of Northland's first-up win over Taranaki last week.
Others on the doubtful list are centre Brad Miller (infection), utility Jason Hita (strained abductor muscle) and first five- eighth Aiden Vince (suspected concussion).
Taylor has an infected cut and Maimuri an ankle strain.
After completing video analysis of the win over Taranaki, the Northland team were put through a rugged session last night, their ability to make the most of attacking opportunities a high priority.
Woodward said the annoying feature of last week's game was the high error rate and the difficulty Northland had of retaining the ball for repeated phases.
He was pleased with Northland's second half performance though, which shut Taranaki out of the game.
However Ranfurly Shield holders Canterbury will be a step up in intensity, their squad likely to be boosted by the arrival of some off-duty All Blacks.
- NORTHERN ADVOCATE