Lauaki to miss Durban clash brings you the latest news from New Zealand.

Lauaki to miss Durban clash

Sione Lauaki has been ruled out of the Chiefs’ Super 14 opener against the Sharks on Saturday.

Lauaki suffered a cut to his arm in the Chiefs’ final pre-season match against the Hurricanes last week and will now miss the trip to the Shark Tank because of an infection.

Lauaki is expected to return for their second-round fixture against the Lions at Ellis Park. Liam Messam will captain the side in Lauaki’s absence.

Chiefs – 15 Mike Delany, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard; 8 Colin Bourke, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Kevin O’Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Subs: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 James McGougan, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Jarrad Hoeata, 21 Junior Poluleuligaga, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.

‘NZ teams to be toughest’

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper says the New Zealand teams will be the stronger sides in the Super 14 this season.

Cooper, who will leave the Hurricanes at the end of the season to coach Taranaki, believes the NZ teams have formidable squads and are expected to dominate.

‘The Blues are always going to be tough, like all the New Zealand sides – the hardest if they are in good form,’ Cooper told ‘It’s going to be about who manages their players the best.’