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Brooke's broken hand blow for Blues
Auckland
February 3, 2000

Veteran All Black lock and Auckland Blues' skipper Robin Brooke has suffered a spiral fracture in the back of his left hand which will keep him out of rugby over the next few weeks.

This is not the news the Blues wanted to hear as they prepare for the start of Super 12 in 3 weeks time, but their medical staff seem to be confident that Brooke will return for at least one of the side's warm up matches in Australia when they play Queensland and New South Wales.

Prop David Morgan is also an injury problem, having strained a hamstring, and there are concerns that his return to fitness may be delayed beyond the start of the Blues' campaign against the Brumbies. On Friday evening the Blues play a trial match in Whangarei.

Coaches Gordon Hunter and Frank Oliver have confirmed that they wish to see Dylan Mika develop as their permanent no. 8.

Last season he made a number of All Black appearances on the blindside, but there is now an obvious All Black vacancy in the no 8 position.To accommodate this, Hunter will be experimenting with former All Black no 8 Xavier Rush on the openside. Hunter said yesterday, ' I want to teach him to do that job, I think he has got the speed and is clever enough to learn the role.'

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