Kurtley Beale injury blow hits Wallabies ahead of All Blacks Test
Australia's hopes of winning the inaugural Rugby Championship have been dealt a bone-crunching tackle with news both David Pocock and Kurtley Beale are doubts for the Wallabies' back-to-back Tests.
Robbie Deans’ men head into the expanded Tri Nations competition, with Argentina now in the mix, on a high following their 3-0 series win over Wales last month.
Many expected that clash to be a tight, testing affair and the emphatic scoreline hinted at a side on the up.
However, what the Wallabies didn’t want was the loss of two key players having already suffered a horrific injury list during their duel with the Dragons.
Pocock, stand-in skipper for the Wales series, has been left out of club side Western Force’s past two game because of a groin injury and the knock is worse than first thought.
Beale, who has played at fullback and fly-half this season, sustained a rib injury in the Melbourne Rebels’ match against the Queensland Reds last weekend and will be out for up to six weeks.
The 23-year-old, one of Australia’s most dangerous backs, missed three of his country’s four matches in June, returning for the third test against Wales in Sydney.
His and brilliant back-rower Pocock’s absence for the two Tests against world champions New Zealand, in Sydney and Auckland, that kick off Australia’s campaign would be a blow.
There is already a question mark over another of Australia’s best young backs James O’Connor, who will also miss the Rebels’ last two matches in South Africa because of a hamstring injury.
“Shattered I can’t be in SA with the boys,” Beale tweeted. “Got to remain positive and get body right.”
BLACKADDER GOES FORTH WITH STARS
Todd Blackadder cannot wait to welcome back Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Israel Dagg for the Canterbury Crusaders’ showdown with Waikato Chiefs. The seven-time champions lost to the Wellington Hurricanes last week and defeat to the competition-leading Chiefs in their penultimate match on Friday would almost certainly leave them without a place in the play-offs for the first time since 2001.
And the Canterbury coach is glad to have the terrific All Blacks trio back in the fold.
“We really missed that experience last weekend,” Blackadder said. “When you look at the way they had been performing before injury, they were absolutely on fire. It’s great to have them back.” Carter is recalled at No.10 after recovering from a hamstring injury to take back the kicking duties after replacement back Tyler Bleyendaal suffered a poor day with the boot last Saturday.
No.8 Read has been cleared to play after a concussion, with Dagg given the nod to return having shaken off an ankle injury.