Leuluai injury update

Thomas Leuluai (right) in action against Scotland on Friday
Thomas Leuluai (right) in action against Scotland on Friday

Thomas Leuluai is expected to be fit for the start of next season.

The Kiwi – back at Wigan for 2017 – suffered a double fracture to his jaw in Friday’s dramatic 18-18 draw with Scotland. He had surgery on Sunday, which was successful.

Thomas Leuluai will stay with the New Zealand squad until the end of the Four Nations

Thomas Leuluai will stay with the New Zealand squad until the end of the Four Nations

And club chairman Ian Lenagan has eased any concerns the injury will delay his return to Super League after four years away.

“The advice we’ve had is it will take eight to 10 weeks, so he should be back and fit to play from the start of the season,” said Lenagan.

Wigan, who were plagued by injury problems last season, start the defence of their title in less than three months, on February 11 against Salford.

And the following week, they face NRL champions Cronulla Sharks in the World Club Challenge.

A New Zealand spokesman confirmed yesterday: “He has broken his jaw in two places. His operation went well and he is now back with the team. He will be with the Kiwis for the remainder of the tour.”

New Zealand face Australia in th Four Nations final at Liverpool’s Anfield this Sunday.

Leuluai had suggested before the tournament it may be his last involvement with the Kiwis, given their reluctance to select Super League players.

But coach David Kidwell has labelled the 31-year-old as a “valuable” member of their squad and has not ruled out the prospect of him extending his international career, which began as an 18-year-old.

Leuluai made 189 appearances for Wigan between 2007 and ‘12, before returning to his first professional club, New Zealand Warriors.

Meanwhile, several Wigan players returned to the club yesterday for an ‘optional’ training week ahead of the start of the pre-season next Monday.