Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles is in doubt to lead a new-look Hurricanes side in their opening Super Rugby match against the Brumbies after picking up an injury at training.
New skipper Coles had been named to start in Canberra on Friday but injured a calf on Wednesday at practice.
He is rated an unlikely starter for the match.
Coles missed all three of the Hurricanes’ pre-season games through unavailability or a hamstring strain.
Coach Chris Boyd said Coles picked up the injury late in the session.
“If training had gone 10 minutes shorter, we might have been all right,” he said.
Motu Matu’u is also unavailable after suffering a calf strain two weeks ago against the Blues in Eketahuna, meaning 19-year-old Wellington hooker Leni Apisai is in line for his first Hurricanes start.
All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara is poised to take over the captaincy, and is confident the Hurricanes have the depth to cover Coles’s absence.
“Any team we put out on the field, we’re confident in the ability of each player,” he said.
“He’s our captain, he’s Colesy, and we want him to be out on the field. But the depth he’s created in our hooker role is good, and he’ll be confident in the boys that are coming in his place.”
Perenara says the Hurricanes have also created a broad leadership group which makes taking over the captaincy easier.
“We’ve got some pretty good leaders out on the field who share the load out there and make the job a little bit easier.”