All Black winger ruled out for the rest of season
Draw a line through Sitiveni Sivivatu's season.
The mercurial winger was scratched from Chiefs and All Blacks duty after finally giving in to surgery on a recurring dislocated shoulder.
A consultation with a surgeon yesterday confirmed the worst and he will go under the knife in three weeks, with six months rehabilitation to follow. Sivivatu, 28, underwent the same procedure on his right shoulder in 2004.
"While it is disappointing, I'm pretty relaxed about the whole situation," Sivivatu said last night. "It is just one of those things that happen and I need to just concentrate on recovering well after the surgery."
As for Ian Foster, it's another day as the injury curse continues to strike.
"If any team's in a good position to deal with these sort of things, we are," Foster said.
"It seems to have happened for a while. We're pretty excited by the challenge with the group we've got. Clearly it's a great opportunity for a number of other players and that's the way we're approaching it."
There had been hope for several weeks that Sivivatu's return to full fitness was imminent, but it was not to be.
"Last year and this year between us and the All Blacks he's been in the rehab phase of it, but the fact that the shoulder has continued to [pop out] has made the decision pretty clear and obvious."
With the World Cup a year away, it seems a good time to cut your immediate losses and think big picture.
Sivivatu's wing spot will be occupied by Jason Hona for tomorrow's clash with the Hurricanes.
Hona, 23, has played one match, coming off the bench in the Chiefs' first-round win over the Sharks, but this will be his first Super 14 start.
His is just one of a raft of changes, some forced by injury, some tactical.
Lauaki has been given time off to recuperate after driving his car through a fence and into a paddock in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
It is expected, if the bruising on his arm has subsided, that he will be available for the home game against the Waratahs next week.
Stephen Donald, who picked up a calf strain while missing six kicks at goal last week, will be replaced at first five-eighths by Callum Bruce, who moves in a spot.
"He's probably in a lot of doubt for next week," Foster said of the prospects of Donald making a speedy recovery.
Jackson Willison also shifts in one to 12, while All Black Richard Kahui moves off the bench into a starting role at centre. Sona Taumalolo comes back from a shoulder injury at loosehead prop and All Black Richard Kahui returns to centre after having been relegated to the reserves last week.
All Black Brendon Leonard has again been listed on the bench, with Junior Poluleuligaga at halfback.
The Hurricanes' only change is on the bench, where five-eighths Willie Ripia is preferred ahead of David Smith.
"Clearly the Hurricanes are going to be very motivated," Foster said. "Mathematically they've got a hope of the top four, so they've got plenty to play for. The first thing you've got to do is match that motivation, so you've got to find internal goals that you're seeking, and we've got plenty."
HURRICANES V CHIEFS
Wellington, 7.35pm tomorrow
Andrew Hore (c)
Reserves: Dane Coles, Jacob Ellison, Jeremy Thrush, Nick Crosswell, Piri Weepu, Willie Ripia, Jason Kawau.
Liam Messam (c)
Reserves: Aled de Malmanche/Vern Kamo, Ben Afeaki, Kevin O'Neill, Luke Braid, Brendon Leonard, Trent Renata, Phil Burleigh.