Hurricanes lose Lousi to pectoral injury

Cape Town - The Hurricanes were dealt a setback ahead of their Super Rugby campaign after second-rower Sam Lousi was ruled out with a pectoral injury.

Although there is still uncertainty how long he will be sidelined, Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland revealed that the injury was “definitely not short-term”.

“We’ll work through that in the next couple of days and see where that’s going to go, but he’s definitely not a short-term injury,” he told the Stuff website.

“He’s done his pec, just how serious that is we’re figuring out.”

The injury means Lousi will miss his team’s season opener against his former side, the Waratahs, in Sydney on Saturday.

Holland said there were some players who were carrying pre-season niggles, but none were as serious as Lousi’s injury.

All of the Hurricanes’ All Blacks, bar flyhalf Beauden Barrett, will be available for selection, but few are expected to be in the run-on side.

“We’ve just got to be smart around how we manage everyone,” added Holland.

“They’ve had limited pre-seasons, so we’ll be smart about how much time guys get and who starts.

“I’d say we’ll be very much like the 'Tahs in that they’ll all be involved in some way.”

Although the All Blacks will be involved, Lousi’s absence will deplete the Hurricanes tight five, which is always considered a weakness.

James Blackwell is expected to start in the second-row and they have a couple of options to replace Lousi as the other lock.

The inexperienced trio of Geoff Cridge, Isaia Walker-Leawere and Liam Mitchell are in the running to come in for Lousi and Mitchell will make his Super Rugby debut if selected.

The other alternative is to have All Blacks utility forward Vaea Fifita cover lock again, although his desire is for a prolonged run on the blindside flank.