Wellington – Waikato Chiefs centre Robbie Fruean will be sidelined for up to two months as he undergoes treatment for an ongoing heart condition, the Super 15 club said.
The Chiefs omitted Fruean, who has had open-heart surgery twice, from a 27-man squad to travel to Australia and South Africa saying he needed to have a procedure that will restore his heart's rhythm to normal.
“Robbie Fruean will be having an ablation procedure for an arrhythmia and will remain in New Zealand,” the club said in a statement. “The expectation around his return to play is four to eight weeks.”
The 25-year-old's cardiac condition stems from a bout of rheumatic fever. He had open-heart surgery in 2009 and again last year, when a valve in his heart was replaced, cutting short his season with the Canterbury Crusaders.
He made a strong start after signing for the Waikato Chiefs this year but suffered shortness of breath during the defending champion's 36-20 win over the Western Stormers on Friday and was found to have an irregular heartbeat.
The Chiefs said Charlie Ngatai (calf) and winger James Lowe (cruciate) were also injured in the Stormers game and will both be out for four to six weeks. – Sapa-AFP