WELLINGTON - Halfback Brendon Leonard is set to miss the start of the Chiefs' Super Rugby title defence after suffering a cheekbone injury during their pre-season match against the Highlanders.
The former All Blacks No.9 is believed to have suffered a fracture and an initial diagnosis suggests he will be sidelined for four to six weeks, meaning he will miss at least the first two games of the season.
Leonard, who played the last of his 13 Tests in 2009, has been dogged by injury for several seasons.
He was largely employed off the reserve bench during the Chiefs' championship-winning campaign last year, leapfrogged by Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who made his All Blacks debut in November.
Chiefs medical staff members are still assessing which other players won't be fit to cross the Tasman for Friday's pre-season match against a strong Reds outfit on the Sunshine Coast.