Rugby-Wallabies sweat on Alaalatoa calf, heartbreak for Jorgensen


  • Rugby
  • Tuesday, 30 May 2023

FILE PHOTO: Australia's Allan Alaalatoa during the press conference in Sapporo, Japan, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa could miss Australia's Rugby Championship opener in South Africa in early July with a calf problem, while teenager Max Jorgensen's World Cup dreams have been all but shattered by a knee injury.

Tighthead Alaalatoa, who captained Australia last year, will be the more worrying potential absence for new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones after he limped off the pitch in the ACT Brumbies' loss to the Waikato Chiefs at the weekend.

The 29-year-old will have scans on the injury on Tuesday but has been ruled out of Friday's match against the Melbourne Rebels and looks to have played his last Super Rugby Pacific match of the season.

Taniela Tupou is still on the mend after rupturing his Achilles tendon against Ireland last November so Jones is short of experienced tighthead props with Pone Fa'amausili, Sam Talakai and Harry Johnson-Holmes having five caps between them.

Teenager Jorgensen's breakout season at the New South Wales Waratahs, meanwhile, came to an end when the fleet-footed fullback twisted his knee at a ruck against the Canterbury Crusaders last Saturday.

The Waratahs confirmed on Tuesday that the talented teenager had ruptured his medial collateral ligament and strained his anterior cruciate ligament, which will sideline him for up to three months.

Jorgensen was included in Jones's first training squad in April but the former England coach is unlikely to take a chance on the 18-year-old for the World Cup without blooding him at test level in the Rugby Championship.

Jones had a chance to work with Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi at the weekend when he coached the Barbarians invitation team to victory over a World XV.

Flyhalf Cooper and inside centre Kerevi, both playing club rugby in Japan and both coming back from serious injuries, are likely to form a key combination for the Wallabies at the World Cup in France.

"It's been useful," Jones told reporters. "It's been like having a mini-training camp with those two there for the Wallabies. We thank the Barbarians for doing that."

Jones also downplayed an injury that forced Kerevi off the pitch in the first half at Twickenham.

"Just a tiny little strain in his hamstring," Jones added. "It's to be expected coming back from a knee (reconstruction). I liked what I saw. Powerful, quick, incisive. We will get him right for the Rugby Championship and then for the World Cup."

Australia open their Rugby Championship campaign against the Springboks in Pretoria on July 8.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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