McAlister blow for Blues
Blues stand-off Luke McAlister was knocked unconscious and forced from the field in his side's 12-12 draw with the Chiefs.
Last Updated: 11/02/11 11:16pm
Blues stand-off Luke McAlister was knocked unconscious and forced from the field in his side's 12-12 draw with the Chiefs on Friday.
McAlister was taken off just ten minutes into the game at Bayer Growers Stadium in Pukekohe after taking a heavy blow to the head. He will be monitored during the week with the extent of the injury likely to be known in the coming days.
The result means the Blues went through their pre-season trials unbeaten, but Pat Lam will have plenty to contemplate ahead of the season opener against the Crusaders on February 19 after a lacklustre performance by his troops.
The Blues showed some exciting glimpses against the Hurricanes last week but were unable to build on their momentum as poor ball handling and numerous errors at the breakdown cost them dearly.
Neither team was able to break the deadlock in the opening stanza as the scores remained nil-all at half-time, despite the Chiefs having the lion's share of possession and creating a number of opportunities.
Centres Benson Stanley and Tana Umaga battled it out ferociously in the midfield, with both players putting in bone-crunching hits on one another.
The second half soon sparked into life with livewire full-back and Counties-Manukau local Tim Nanai Williams making a break up the middle, before the ball was sent wide to Stephen Donald who scored in the corner.
Chiefs flanker Scott Waldrom barged over from close range soon after to extend the lead to 12-0 before the Blues finally hit back, Joe Rokocoko outpacing Mils Muliaina to the tryline after a lovely break by Benson Stanley.
With ten minutes remaining, Peter Saili crossed the whitewash untouched after some fine build-up play to tie the scores.
Head coach Pat Lam was pleased to round out the pre-season fixtures unbeaten but said there was plenty to work on ahead of next week's blockbuster clash against the Crusaders.
"It was a physical game which is what we wanted and the All Black guys got another 60 minute hit-out," Lam said.
"After a big week of training we were pretty slugglish but there are some good things we can work on. It was a bit rough around the breakdown which slowed our ball and we made errors as well so there's a bit of preparation to be done this week."
"Next week is a big week and the preparation in terms of recovery and what we do during the week is going to be key. The pre-season's over now so we can put that aside - now the real thing begins."