Exeter Chiefs have been dealt an untimely injury blow with the news that Christ Tshiunza is expected to be sidelined until the New Year.
Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, confirmed today that the Welsh international has broken a bone in his foot after coming off the bench in last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership win over Sale Sharks at Sandy Park.
The 21-year-old forward had only returned to the Chiefs having spent the past two months at the Rugby World Cup, where he featured as part of Warren Gatland’s squad for the tournament.
“He has broken a bone in his foot,” said Baxter. “He’s the only injury we picked up from Saturday [against Sale]. It was a bit innocuous, he didn’t come off with it, don’t think he felt it was a big deal at the time, but since then we’ve had it x-rayed and scanned. He’s got a fracture there and we will have to see how it goes.
“He will have a couple of consultancy appointments now to see if it requires an operation. We think that’s unlikely, but again it’s one of those injuries that we now have to manage in a certain way to make sure it initially heals well.
“Sadly, it’s going to be a couple of months at least, which is a bit of a shame because he’s done about 20 minutes in quite a long time was looking pretty good. Sadly, it’s going to be one of those annoying ones that we’re going to have to get on with.”
Tshiunza’s injury comes just weeks after the Chiefs lost highly-rated full-back Josh Hodge to a dislocated elbow in their Premiership loss away to Harlequins.
Baxter confirmed Hodge has undergone successful surgery and that he will also now undergo a lengthy recovery period.
“Surgery went very well,” added Baxter. “We knew it was a relatively good amount to repair, but it’s that 10-12 week injury period that we’re dealing with.”
On the plus side, however, Baxter will be delighted to see winger Olly Woodburn and Alec Hepburn both come through Monday’s friendly win over Bristol Bears unscathed, whilst he also reported scrum-half Stu Townsend is back in full training and that Scottish international is now “just weeks” away from returning to training after dislocating his knee in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle.
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