Wallabies lose Christian Leali'ifano to injury
October 14, 2013
Christian Leali'ifano has been one of only a few form players for the Wallabies in 2013 © Getty Images
Australia will be missing star goal kicker Christian Leali'ifano when they take on the All Blacks this weekend in the final Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin.
Leali'ifano has been ruled out with a compression injury to the same ankle that he broke in 2012. His Brumbies teammate Matt Toomua is said to be in line to start in Leali'ifano's place at inside centre, while Quade Cooper is expected to run on as five-eighth and take over the kicking duties.
Leali'ifano injured his right ankle during the Wallabies 57-12 win over Argentina in Rosario last month and has been closely monitored since returning to Australia with the squad last week.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie made the decision on Monday morning that Leali'ifano would not take part in the Test, in order to ensure he will be fit for the five-Test November tour in Europe next month.
"Leali'ifano's ankle is swollen, he's had an ongoing problem there for some time," McKenzie told Rugby Heaven. "The reality is the short-term plan is to rest him and get him back to as close to 100 per cent as possible so [that for] the next five games he's playing at 100 per cent as opposed to pushing him through now and forcing him to play six games at 80 per cent. I don't think that's fair on him or the team. It's a medical decision that's logical."
The Wallabies have several different goal kicking options in Cooper, Bernard Foley, Mike Harris and Toomua, However, Leali'ifano was one of the Wallabies most consistent players and the backline will feel his loss.
Leali'ifano joins Scott Fardy on the injured list after the Brumbies flanker was ruled out with bleeding behind his eye. The bleeding has stopped but Fardy has been ruled out of contact work for two weeks, meaning he will be fit for the first Test of the November Tour against England at Twickenham.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September