The Wallabies have suffered two injury setbacks in the lead up to its crucial Rugby World Cup match against England.
Power running forwards Will Skelton and Wycliff Palu, pictured left, both suffered tournament ending injuries in the Wallabies 65-3 victory over Uruguay on Sunday. Skelton tore a pectoral muscle in a second half scrum and will see a surgeon upon his return to Australia, while Palu suffered a hamstring injury in the first half.
Palu’s injury will signal the end of his 57 match Wallabies career, after announcing a move to play in Japan’s club rugby competition next season, and will leave him just shy of the new Australian Rugby Union 60-test minimum needed for overseas players to represent Australia. Palu suffered a similar fate at the 2011 World Cup tournament with a hamstring injury ruling him out in the pool stages of the tournament.
In the Wallabies official media release, coach Michael Cheika spoke of the loss of both players.
“Very few players have the opportunity to play for the Wallabies, let alone at a Rugby World Cup, so from that perspective I’m really gutted for them,” he said. “From a team perspective, they both play important roles in the side and it is disappointing that we need to replace players in our squad.”
Despite being a specialist hooker, James Hanson will replace Palu to provide cover for captain Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau. Sam Carter, who missed the original 31-man squad due to a knee injury, will replace Skelton. – Luke Cullen
Top photo of Will Skelton and Wycliff Palu from Rugby World Cup Official Twitter page.