The Rugby Championship
O'Connor injury blow for Wallabies
July 2, 2012
Australia's James O'Connor is a doubt for his side's Rugby Championship opener with New Zealand in Sydney © Getty Images
Australia have been dealt a significant blow ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand next month with the news that James O'Connor will miss the Sydney showdown.
The versatile back aggravated a hamstring injury in the Melbourne Rebels' 32-17 loss to the Reds in Melbourne on Friday night and is expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks therefore ruling him out of the clash with the All Blacks on August 18 and possibly the return clash in Auckland the following week.
The 21-year-old was in line to start at fly-half for the Wallabies having recovered from lacerated liver and hamstring injuries earlier this year but it is a recurrence of the latter that is set to force coach Robbie Deans into a re-think.
A potential replacement in that role is O'Connor's team-mate Kurtley Beale but reports suggest he may also be sidelined for some time with a rib injury picked up in the same game. Rebels coach Damien Hill revealed that Beale, who has only just returned from a shoulder injury, was "sore all over" following his latest outing and will be assessed further in a couple of days. Both players are also set to miss the Rebels' season-ending tour of South Africa.
With Quade Cooper still battling back to full fitness following a knee reconstruction, Berrick Barnes may well retain the playmaker role having featured at No.10 throughout the recent series against Wales.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
In the latest edition of Ask John, John Griffiths answers queries about Barbarians socks, bi-lingual referees and Lions who weren't Lions
"Here is the line-up I believe will take to the field on Saturday, let the abuse commence." Tom Hamilton has a punt at the Lions' starting XV for the first Test in his latest Tour Diary
"Drafting former Lions heroes and rising stars into your side at short notice may make for great copy but it does not make for a great side." Graham Jenkins on the lesson from the Lions' first loss