Andrew van der Heijden of Auckland leaves the field with a broken arm during a ITM Cup match between Auckland and Tasman at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Sandra Mu /Getty Images
Andrew Van der Heijden has been called into the Blues squad to provide cover at lock for their last two remaining games.
With Anthony Boric and Ali Williams both sidelined with injuries and Filo Paulo suspended until the end of the season, Blues head coach Pat Lam has called on the 28-year-old to fill the void.
It is déjà vu for Van der Heijden who answered the SOS call from Lam in 2010 during a similar locking crisis and earned three caps for the franchise before heading overseas to join English Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.
Van der Heijden has been back in the country barely a month after signing for the Auckland ITM Cup team and now suddenly finds himself thrust into Super Rugby action.
He completed his first training session with the Blues yesterday, and said it was brilliant to be back.
“It’s awesome to be back and it feels like home,” Van der Heijden said.
“There are a couple of new faces but I know the majority of the guys so it’s quite good. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and hopefully getting some game time.”
Injuries continue to torment Lam, with no less than 11 players ruled out of action including five key All Blacks.
“It’s been the story of our season really right from day one and particularly at lock,” Lam lamented.
“It’s really stretched us so we’ve called in Andrew Van der Heijden to join the squad.
“He’s done it before and he did extremely well for us last time. He’s a hard working lock and he’s put on some size while he was over there so it’s good for him to join us.”
The Blues have a bye after the three week Test window, followed by matches against the Western Force (July 7,EdenPark) and the Brumbies (July 14,Canberra).
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