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Blues lose Charlie Faumuina for season
ESPN Staff
April 8, 2013
The Highlanders' Tony Brown attempts to tackle the Blues' Charlie Faumuina, Blues v Highlanders, Super Rugby, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, June 17, 2011
Charlie Faumuina leaves a big hole to fill in the Blues front row © Getty Images
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Teams: Blues

Blues and All Blacks prop Charlie Faumuina has been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season with a calf injury sustained in the round-six loss to New South Wales Waratahs. The Blues have called up Auckland prop Sam Prattley to replace him in the squad.

Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said it was a major blow to lose someone of Faumuina's calibre for the season, but the best interests of the player and the team alike were served by replacing him. "Team doctor Stephen Kara said best-case scenario for Faumuina returning was eight weeks, but the worst case scenario was 14 weeks," Kirwan said. "I think if we tried to rush Charlie back, he's the type of guy that wants to help the team out so he'd push hard to get back and possibly to the detriment of his long-term career.

"He needs to get on top of this injury so keeping the team in mind and Charlie's future in mind we've decided to replace him. He's still going to be with us and we want to get him back as quickly as we can, but unfortunately the rules state that if you replace a player he can't come back for the season so that's a tough call. But Charlie was understanding and wants to try and get back to 100 per cent so that's his main goal."

Former New Zealand Under-17 and Under-20 representative Prattley, 23, spent two seasons in the Crusaders' wider training group, and recently signed a two-year contract with Auckland having played three seasons for Tasman.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity but also pretty nervous joining the team for the first time this morning," Prattley said. "It's always been a goal of mine to step up to Super Rugby level and was one of the motivating factors in me making the move up to Auckland so I'm really looking forward to the getting stuck in."

Kirwan said he was happy to welcome Prattley into the fold. "Sam played well for the Blues development team ... he's one of those raw-boned, tough and rugged players who covers both sides of the scrum so that's a real positive for us."

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