Boric to return for Waratahs clash
March 20, 2013
Anthony Boric has proven his fitness with the Blues' development side © Getty Images
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan confirmed All Blacks lock Anthony Boric will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby when they meet the New South Wales Waratahs on Sunday.
Boric's return, likely to be from the bench, is a timely boost for a Blues side looking to bounce back from a humbling defeat against the Bulls.
The 29-year-old spent almost a year on the sidelines because of a neck injury and underwent surgery in August to fix a bulging disc around his C5 and C6 vertebrae.
He proved his fitness in three outings with the Blues development side, including a 50-12 thrashing of the Crusaders B team, and is primed to add to his 62 Super Rugby caps at Allianz Stadium.
"He's going to be on the bench, definitely," Kirwan said at training on Wednesday.
"It's the next step for him; I think the bench is the right place for him."
Meanwhile, Kirwan revealed that veteran hooker Keven Mealamu could possibly return a week later than initially planned - against the Chiefs in Tauranga next week.
The 102-Test All Black celebrated his 34th birthday with his first full contact session since opting to take an extended break during the off-season to freshen up from a demoralising year with the Blues and the increasing demands of Test rugby.
Kirwan explained that although he would like to use Mealamu against the Chiefs, players would normally be given a period of three weeks to get up to speed and the risks of rushing him back into the squad early were too great.
"We just need to see how he is," Kirwan of Mealamu's first week back at training.
"I'd like to bring him in for the Chiefs on the bench, but we can't afford to have anything niggling early season.
"We just need to be careful but if he's ready to go next week then we'll bring him in."
Kirwan said although the Waratahs have lost three of their last four matches, including last week's narrow loss to the Cheetahs, he is wary of the ensuing backlash and expects a battle of epic proportions.
"It doesn't help that the Waratahs are under the pump as well," Kirwan said.
"I saw Michael Cheika on the news; I don't think he's too happy with how his team is going so it makes for a bigger game."
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