Newcastle Rugby: Blacks to benefit from prop’s Samoan stint

HIGHER HONOURS:  Maitland prop Turi Uini. Picture: Stewart Hazell

HIGHER HONOURS: Maitland prop Turi Uini. Picture: Stewart Hazell

MAITLAND have missed Turi Uini but co-coach Ryan McCormack has no doubts that they will benefit from the loose-head prop’s stint with Samoa come the finals.

Uini, who joined Maitland from Merewether, is in the Samoan A squad to play the Western Force at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

The Samoans have been training in Perth full-time for the past five weeks.

“He has lost about 16 kilograms in the time he has been over there,” McCormack said. “Essentially he has been on a full-time contract with Samoa A. He will miss the home clash against Merewether, but we will definitely reap the rewards when he comes back.”

McCormack was a late inclusion for fly-half Pat Batey (thumb) in the 46-19 win over Southern Beaches and could yet play a role in the lead up to the finals.

“It was a pretty crucial game for us last weekend,” McCormack said.

“Having someone who knows the plays and knows the system is a hell of a lot easier for the other 14 blokes. To be honest I loved it. Playing outside Max Stafford and inside Carl Manu, Josh McCormack and Chris Logan is good fun.”

McCormack is former NSW Country representative but has been content to play lower grades and concentrate on coaching.

“With work and my knee, I can’t commit to the gym and the additional fitness that first grade needs,” he said.

“We have the bye this week and we’ll see how Pat is next week. We also have young Lachy Bradford who has been playing second grade.”