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Canes down Chiefs
Hurricanes replacement flank Karl Lowe scored a late intercept try to secure a 17-12 win against the Chiefs in Roturua on Friday.
In the final warm-up game for both sides, the match was scheduled in the afternoon to help the Chiefs get accustomed to the humid weather conditions they will experience in Durban next weekend.
The Hurricanes seemed to adapt easier as they took a 10-7 lead at the break through wing Tamati Ellison and flank Scott Waldrom.
Flank Tanerau Latimer touch downed for the Chiefs and pivot Stephen Donald added the extras to keep them within reach at half-time.
In the second stanza, the Chiefs took a 12-10 lead as skipper Sione Lauaki crossed the chalk, but Lowe’s late score clinched the game for the Wellington franchise.
Flynn’s rotten run continues
Hooker Corey Flynn has picked up another injury and is in doubt for the Crusaders’ opening game against the Highlanders.
The All Blacks front-ranker played 20 minutes in the win over the Blues on Thursday before he had to be helped from the field due to an ankle sprain. According to The Press, he reappeared afterward on crutches and although the Crusaders management are reluctant to rule him out, he could be sidelined for a spell of six weeks.
Ti’i Paulo is now the favourite to start at hooker against the Highlanders in Christchurch next week. Coach Todd Blackadder will also have to look at other wing options with Kade Poki struggling with a quad niggle.
Filo to fill Ali’s boots
Filo Paulo has been named the official replacement for injured Blues lock Ali Williams.
The 22-year-old North Harbour player impressed in the Blues’ warm-up match against the Crusaders on Thursday. Coach Pat Lam told stuff.co.nz Paulo will start in the coming match against the Hurricanes as Williams is out for the season with an Achilles injury.
‘We had a look around but when you spend time with someone and realise what they can do, the answer was in our own backyard,’ Lam said. ‘He’s young but he’s a big man and he’s shown a good work ethic and commitment.
‘He’s done the hard yards for us over the summer. He’s been in our wider training squad and covered for some of the other guys early on. I’m happy to be going with him.’
Paul Williams (head) and Serge Lilo (shoulder) were injured in Thursday’s match, but Lam expects them to recover for the opening match in Auckland.
This thread will be updated throughout the day.