Chiefs lose key forward recruits before season kick-off

The Chiefs have suffered two serious injuries ahead of this year's Super Rugby season with recruits Nepo Laulala and Dominic Bird both set for extended stints on the sidelines.

Former Crusaders prop Laulala has been the hardest hit with scans revealing he suffered a season-ending knee injury after going down at training on Friday afternoon.

Laulala tore three ligaments in his right knee and will soon undergo surgery, ruling him out for the next 12 months.

"It's obviously very disappointing to have injured my knee and be unable to play for the Gallagher Chiefs for a while, but I'll be back real soon," Laulala said via a Chiefs media release.

"Once I'm through surgery, I'll be working hard to get back to full fitness as quickly as possible so I can get back out on the rugby field. Though I'm unable to play for a little while, I'll be supporting the boys and doing as much as I can for the team."

Bird, meanwhile, will miss the first 10 weeks of Super Rugby after fracturing his right foot.

The lock, who like Laulala arrived from Christchurch over the summer, suffered the injury on Monday and will now have to wait until the midway point of the tournament to debut for the two-time champions.

"It's not the start to the season I was hoping for, it's as frustrating as ever, like any injury," Bird said.

"I'm looking at ten weeks of recovery so I'll be doing what I can to get the rest of my body right in the meantime. I'll still be chipping in with a lot of line-out stuff with the boys and helping the team however I can."