Robertson not phased by long injury list

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Injuries have hit the side hard.

The Crusaders look like a M*A*S*H clearing station with an unprecedented injury list only four weeks into the campaign – the worst Robertson has experienced in his seven years as head coach at this stage of the season.

Hooker George Bell's season-ending broken ankle means eight players couldn't be considered for the Auckland visit.

Also missing are: second five-eighths David Havili (shoulder) and Jack Goodhue (groin), No8 Cullen Grace (shoulder), prop Fletcher Newell (foot), fullback (migraines), lock Mitchell Dunshea (chest) and prop Oli Jager (neck).

Like Bell, Newell, Dunshea, and possibly Jager will miss the rest of the season.

Havili and Goodhue are shorter-term injuries which could see them return in two or three weeks, while Grace faces a six-week recovery.

Jordan was training with the team and improving but would be out at least until the round eight bye week.

"The medical group has worked really closely with him, and he's making progress. That's the main thing."

However, Robertson said from his view, it was a case of concentrating on the team he could field.

"We've got an exciting team out there. That's the thing you focus on – who you've got, not who you haven't.

"It's part of the game. We're a collision sport. We've got the best available team playing for us this week, we'll get them ready and get excited by the opportunity."

The injuries have meant positional changes to play the Blues. George Bower will move to the tighthead propping role. However, should the midfield suffer more injuries, wings Sevu Reece and Leicester Fainga'anuku have been listed as cover.

Robertson said the changes in positions had been covered in pre-season training, and the players involved were ready.

Bower was thriving, he said.

"Bower is a man of many gifts, he just keeps offering, and you would be surprised what he can do. The great thing about him is, he'll put his hand up and go to work. It's not ideal with our injury situation, but that's footy, and we've got to roll with it."


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