Falcons suffer double blow
Afu and Tu'ipulotu to miss the start of the season
Last Updated: 28/06/10 9:48am
Afu: Broken leg
Newcastle have been rocked by news Josh Afu and Tane Tu'ipulotu will miss the start of the season through injury.
"It's a bitter blow so early into our pre-season, especially to lose guys like Josh and Tane who were both in serious contention for starting places."
Alan Tait Quotes of the week
Afu faces a lengthy spell on the sideline after breaking his leg and damaging his ankle ligaments playing for Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup, while Tu'ipulotu is recovering after surgery on a hip injury.
Head coach Alan Tait told the club's official site: "It's a bitter blow so early into our pre-season, especially to lose guys like Josh and Tane who were both in serious contention for starting places.
"Josh has suffered a fractured fibula and damage to his ankle ligaments while away with Tonga for the Pacific Nations Cup, and he will miss at least the first few months of the season.
"Tane's hip operation means he will also be out for the start of the Premiership in September, but it is too early at this stage to say when we can expect to see him back."
The duo will join Tom Catterick in missing the kick-off to the new campaign, while Mark Wilson is also a doubt.
Fly-half Catterick has had surgery on a shoulder injury, while flanker Wilson has suffered a groin injury.
"Mark Wilson will be out for around two months with his groin, so while he will miss out on a lot of our pre-season work he should hopefully be back into the mix around the time that the season proper gets underway," added Tait.
"In Tom Catterick's case we have known for some weeks now that he would not be with us for the start of the campaign after his shoulder operation, but it's at times like this that your squad system really comes to the fore.
"We have some good depth in a number of positions, and that will be tested early on in the season due to the sheer bad luck we have encountered so far in terms of injuries."