Burnout doesn’t bother Blacks

Fourteen All Blacks are set to play in the New Zealand Cup this weekend while two more will play club rugby.

Canterbury face Waikato on Friday night and boast a significantly strengthened side with Scott Hamilton, Greg Somerville and Reuben Thorne returning from Tri-Nations duty.

Taranaki will have Jason Eaton and Andrew Hore available, while Doug Howlett, Joe Rokocoko, Isaia Toeava, Sam Tuitupou and Ali Williams are available for Auckland.

North Harbour have Luke McAlister and Greg Rawlinson in the frame for their match against Bay of Plenty, and Rico Gear is available for Tasman against Manawatu.

On Sunday, Otago can call on hooker Anton Oliver for the match against Northland. Meanwhile, Jerry Collins and Piri Weepu are available for club rugby in Wellington this weekend.

Meanwhile, an injured finger is expected to keep Wellington skipper Tana Umaga out of action for around six weeks.

Umaga was forced to undergo surgery to re-attach the tip of his finger its bone after suffering severe tendon damage during Friday night’s 11-6 win over Bay of Plenty.

Despite the serious finger injury, Umaga is still expected to return to the New Zealand Cup competition within six weeks.

The injury is also not expected to keep him from joining French club Toulon on a 12-month deal in November.