Western Force lock Adam Coleman will miss the chance to go head-to-head with All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, as the club takes a cautious approach to his injury return.
Coleman had been slated to return from a calf injury against the Chiefs on Saturday, but the Force has opted to keep him on ice for one more week, for their rd 10 Lions clash.
“I think the Chiefs game was an optimistic milestone, it was kind of a big target for us and he’s very close (to playing),” coach Dave Wessels said.
“We don’t want to play him for the sake of it and risk losing him again. It’s better to go one more week and have him for the rest of the season.
“He really cares about the team and he’s a very competitive guy and I think more than anything wanted to play, he wanted to have the opportunity to play against Brodie Retallick.”
Despite spending seven weeks on the sideline this season, Coleman has still managed to have a major influence on the Force’s set piece.
“We’ve developed a pretty good lineout and he deserves a lot of credit for the work he’s put into that.
“I think some of the energy around the team’s pretty good. We’re moving in the right direction and that’s driven by guys like ‘Ads’.
“He’s also done a good job with his rehab, he’s come in on his days off and deserves a lot of good credit.”
Wessels has big dreams for his lineout caller, who had a breakthrough 2016, becoming the Wallabies’ first-picked lock, before being plagued with injuries in the past six months.
“He doesn’t actually realise how good he can be, he can be a really world class player and I’m excited about the next 18 months to get him to that point,” he said.
Despite the injury, Coleman was part of the cohort at the Wallabies camp in Canberra last week.
The Force are set to unveil a possible debutant for the Chiefs with Michael Ruru suffering an ankle sprain, with Randwick's MItch Short signed as injury cover.
Short joined the club earlier this week on an injury replacement contract, with first-choice halfback Ryan Louwrens already ruled out with a serious knee injury.
Ian Prior is set to move into that number nine spot, with Short in contention for the bench.
“I think there’s a number bf good nines in club land, so it wasn’t an easy choice,” he said.
“Mitch is just what you want out of a nine, he’s busy, gets himself in the game, he’s got a good feel for it and worked very hard on his pass.”
Local product, Palmyra's Kieran Duffin has also been training with the wider squad.
The Force take on the Chiefs on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via radio on RUGBY.com.au.