Wednesday’s rugby news has two massive Australian injuries, Palu calling time on his Test career, more backrow suggestions and Gatland criticising RWC scheduling.
Wallabies suffer injury blow
Australia have called up James Hanson and Sam Carter to their squad after Wycliff Palu and Will Skelton were ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with injuries sustained in the victory over Uruguay.
Palu, who missed the Wallabies’ opening game against Fiji, picked up a hamstring strain while Skelton sustained a pectoral muscle injury during Sunday’s clash that Australia won 65-3. Coach Michael Cheika said he was “really gutted” for the pair but added, “Both James and Sam have been part of the team at various stages this season and I am confident they will be able to step up and grasp the opportunity they have been given.”
Palu ends Test career
Wycliff Palu has commented on the realisation that he would never play for the Wallabies again after the injury he sustained against Uruguay. “I felt a bit numb and probably going into the sheds afterwards, halftime and obviously not coming back out I was pretty gutted,” he said. “I had a moment there where it was pretty emotional for me.”
After being ruled out of the World Cup, the number 8 will now join Japanese side Toyota Verblitz on a two-year deal. With 57 Tests to his name, he falls short of the recently-approved 60-Test threshold for overseas players, with his Test involvement severely limited by various injuries throughout the years.
Poidevin suggests three 7s
Simon Poidevin has suggested that coach Michael Cheika should react to the injury to Wycliff Palu with the novel option of selecting Sean McMahon on a forwards-heavy bench. The former Wallaby captain said that McMahon ought to be included despite the team already featuring two openside flankers in Michael Hooper and David Pococok.
McMahon’s inclusion would see a 6-2 forwards-backs split on the bench, with Matt Giteau starting but on standby as the second halfback. “You have to assume that either Pocock or Hooper is going to get knocked around a bit,” Poidevin said, while emphasising McMahon’s tremendous form of late.
Short turnaround criticised
As his side’s injury toll continues to mount, Wales coach Warren Gatland has been the latest coach to call into question the short timespan between matches at the Rugby World Cup. “It’s something we all need to be aware of because it’s a pretty brutal game at the moment and it’s important that we consider and look after the welfare of our players too,” he said.
“I don’t know whether four or five day turnarounds in a World Cup are too short.” Just five days after a thrilling win over England, Wales will take the pitch for their penultimate Pool A match against Fiji. Wales have lost six players to injury since naming their initial World Cup squad.