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Gibbes absence a blow for All Blacks
1 September 2005 12:00pm
Waikato and New Zealand Maori captain Jono Gibbes may not play again this season after aggravating the foot injury that has kept him out of action since the British & Irish Lions series.
Waikato coach Warren Gatland does not expect his star forward to be back in time to contend for a place on the All Blacks' British tour.
Gatland told the Waikato Times: "It's probably going to keep him out for the rest of the year."
The former London Wasps and Ireland boss revealed his skipper had been close to making a return when he aggravated the injury during training.
"He was close and just came up a little bit sore and it's still not right," he said.
"It's a shame, but these are the things that happen with rugby. He was hoping to be back to put himself in contention for the end-of-year tour to Britain, so it's a shame for him.
"Initially at the start of the season I was expecting him to be with the All Blacks and so wasn't counting on him being back.
"So it was a bonus when we looked like having him."
Gibbes, also captain of the Chiefs, has played eight Tests for the All Blacks since making his debut last year against England.
Chiefs team-mate Sione Lauaki replaced him in the All Black squad, and he will start this Saturday's Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies.
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