Wallabies feel toll of brutal Irish defeat as injury list grows

Sun, Nov 20, 2022, 1:04 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies are counting the cost of a brutal Ireland defeat. Photo: Getty Images
The Wallabies are counting the cost of a brutal Ireland defeat. Photo: Getty Images

The Wallabies are set to be forced into mass changes after a brutal defeat to Ireland with as many as seven players potentially unavailable for next week's clash with Wales.

The visitors were ravaged by injury during the 13-10 defeat, showcasing the trademark fight under Dave Rennie to stay in the contest before a late Ross Byrne penalty saw another close game fall away from their grasp.

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It started in the second minute with Hunter Paisami coming off second best from a collision, suffering suspected medial damage to his knee.

He was shortly followed by Dave Porecki, suffering his second concussion in four months.

Number eight Rob Valetini (ankle/syndesmosis injury) and fullback Andrew Kellaway (toe) limped off in the second half, forcing Jake Gordon onto the wing.

Nic White also spent time off the field for a HIA, with his symptoms upgraded after the match leaving him unable to play this week.

However, the worst appeared to be replacement prop Taniela Tupou, facing a nervous wait on an Achilles issue.

Tupou, who moments earlier came onto the field and won a scrum penalty, collapsed at the feet of the Irish defence as he tried to take a hit-up, writhing in agony on the ground.

He was eventually carted off the field, leaving Dave Rennie struggling for answers after the game.

"There's definitely four of those guys out, Bobby (Valetini) likely as well," Rennie admitted after the match.

"...We'll have to go into the depth of the squad again. I can guarantee there will be guys itching for another opportunity after the Italy effort."

It leaves the Wallabies scrambling for numbers with Lalakai Foketi (shin) and Tom Banks (ankle) already out, compounded by Bernard Foley and Will Skelton returning to their clubs.

As the toll grows, Rennie believes it's a cause of bad luck rather than mismanaging players, with the likes of Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Angus Bell picking up freak injuries during the Rugby Championship and Commonwealth Games.

"Tonight Hunter got his knee caught under someone, Dave got a concussion which looked like shoulder to the head so there's some bad luck," he believes.

"It's a collision sport and those are collision injuries."

Wallabies skipper James Slipper was proud of the effort shown despite the defeat, confident they are heading in the right direction under Rennie.

"In terms of where this group is heading, what we've faced, I've got a lot of confidence," Slipper said.

"We've faced a lot of adversity and lost a lot of players, I could go through the list but at the end of the day, we haven't got the results we wanted. As a captain at the moment, I'm happy with where we are heading.

"I'd love to be in a better spot so I'm understanding of that, it sets up a big game for next week."

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