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Tim Bateman joins Hurricanes' casualty ward
February 11, 2014
Brad Shields of the Hurricanes on his way to scoring a try, Hurricanes v Western Force, Super Rugby, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, April 19, 2013
Brad Shields' injury will keep him out of action for about two months © Getty Images

The Hurricanes have suffered another key injury on the eve of the Super Rugby season, with Tim Bateman sustaining a knee injury in training on Wednesday that will almost certainly rule him out of the season-opening trip to South Africa. Bateman is believed to have sustained a grade-one medial collateral ligament to his right knee that will sidelined him for two-four weeks.

Bateman's injury comes after blows to flanker Brad Shields and wing Matt Proctor.

Shields will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a knee injury sustained in the trial against Melbourne Rebels in Geelong on Saturday, while Proctor will miss the team's first two games, against the Sharks and Stormers in South Africa, after twisting an ankle in the same game. He is expected to be ready for their first home, against the Brumbies on March 7.

Key prop Reggie Goodes is also sidelined by a toe injury.

Hadleigh Parkes replaced Bateman alongside returning captain Conrad Smith at training on Wednesday, and he will start against the Crusaders in their final pre-season trial.

Mark Hammett, meanwhile, recalled a number of All Blacks to the side to play the Crusaders in Levin. Beauden Barrett will play at fly-half while Smith, wing Cory Jane and lock Jeremy Thrush are also in the starting side. Samoa international Alapati Leiua returns from injury on the left wing while usual No.10 Marty Banks will play at fullback.

Hammett also named Wellington wider training group flanker Adam Hill at blindside with Shields out and Faifili Levave only just back from injury. "Hilly has been a big part of the preseason and done a lot of the work and I suppose that's an example where for him and Faifili it's a really important game for the two of them," Hammett said.

Smith said he'd be happy to get through 40 minutes in his first match after a four-month sabbatical, but he denied he should have been involved in more re-season matches.

"I think if you've played for 10 years you probably only need one game," he said. "For the young guys who have been training since November and they're in their first or second year of Super Rugby then three preseason games is not even enough. They will probably still take four or five games of the regular season to get a feel for it, so it becomes a pretty individual thing. I know I'd be worse off if I played three games ... I think that's how most of the [older] guys approach it now."

Hurricanes: Marty Banks; Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (captain), THadleigh Parkes, Alapati Leiua; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Victor Vito, Jack Lam, Adam Hill; Mark Abbott, Jeremy Thrush; Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Replacements: Motu Matu'u, Ash Dixon, John Schwalger, Brendon Edmonds, Chris Eves, James Broadhurst, Mark Reddish, Blade Thomson, Faifili Levave, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Chris Smylie, Billy Guyton, James Marshall, Hadleigh Parkes, Cardiff Vaega, Julian Savea, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Andre Taylor


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