Following the last article, after undergoing an x-ray Mils Muliaina has been ruled out of the rest of the Super 14. He will undergo surgery today. Recovery is expected to take at least 6 weeks. His likely replacements at the back for the Chiefs include Mike Delany and Tim Nanai-Williams. Playing Delany would mean breaking the successful twin pivot experiment he had with Stephen Donald last week, although with an injury to Donald still to be confirmed Delany may be needed at first five anyway. Versatile backs Dwayne Sweeney and Sitiveni Sivivatu could also cover at fullback.
It is a crucial blow for both Muliaina and the Chiefs. The Chiefs have a crucial match against the Bulls which will shape their up-and-down season. Muliaina played a key role in last year’s run to the final.
Muliaina will have a fight on his hands to keep his All Black full back jersey following good form by New Zealand fullbacks Israel Dagg, Isaia Toeava, and of course Corey Jane. Muliaina is the most capped current New Zealand player, with 82 test caps. He has already surpassed Justin Marshall’s record for most tests by an All Black back and will race Richie McCaw to the overall record of 96 All Black tests, held by New Zealand great Sean Fitzpatrick.