Chiefs staying positive despite prop injury crisis reaching new heights

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NZN

The Chiefs are taking their latest injury setback on the chin after prop Aidan Ross was ruled out for the rest of the Super Rugby season with a broken ankle.

Chiefs prop Aidan Ross was stretchered off the field after he suffered a broken ankle in his side's 25-13 loss to the Hurricanes.
Source: TVNZ | Commonwealth Games

Ross was in anguish after falling awkwardly during Friday's derby against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

It was just their second defeat from seven games, a remarkable return given their substantial injury toll.

At prop alone, they had already lost Atu Moli for the rest of the campaign while it remains doubtful when All Blacks Nepo Laulala and Kane Hames will return to play.

Coach Colin Cooper believes bad luck rather than bad management is behind the injury malaise but he can't afford to dwell on it.

"If you look at Ross' injury it was just a tackle where one of our players fell on him," he said.

"It's the way the game is both fast and physical, and our expectation is on props to do more than just push."

Cooper remains positive however given the way his replacement players are responding.

A good example is North Harbour rookie Karl Tu'inukuafe.

"He's a bit of an unknown as we always knew he could scrummage, and as you could see on Friday we brought him on to try and turn scrums over," Cooper said.

"His challenge was to get fit enough to play the way we're playing, and I thought he handled himself really well."

The Chiefs have also drafted in former Blues prop Sam Prattley as cover. The loosehead specialist has played 33 Super Rugby games over five seasons.

Cooper is focusing on his side's execution this week after they blew several scoring chances in the 25-13 loss.

A trip to Brisbane to face the Reds on Saturday is a greater challenge than their recent form might suggest.

The 12th-placed Queenslanders have lost their last three games, conceding 107 points in the process.

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