Wallaby injury curse raises questions for former Test stars

Morgan Turinui says Rugby Australia must find a way to improve its high performance program after a horrific injury toll revealed a lack of depth at the Wallabies.

Michael Hooper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Andrew Kellaway and Nic White were all ruled out of Sunday’s end-of-season test (AEDT kick-off 2.15am) against the Country of Wales, joining an already crowded casualty ward.

“There have been 50 players used this year and I think around 50 last year as well,” said former Wallaby Morgan Turinui. Rugby heaven on Stan Sports.

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“Something in the mid-40s around individual incidents with players that resulted in losing a game. I think there’s an element of bad luck.

“There’s an element to it being a collision sport. There’s also an element that we deal with concussions, well, starting as we should, so the players have also been taken out of games due to concussion issues, so that will naturally add to that number as opposed to historically.”

The most alarming injuries are serious setbacks to the Achilles tendon of Quade Cooper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Leota and Harry Johnson-Holmes.

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“If you’re Wallaby staff, if you’re Rugby Australia, you’ve got to find wins there, gains by reducing that number,” Turinui said.

“If it’s 45 incidents (games) missed, go down to 30. Go down as much as you can.

“There are learnings, there are opportunities to improve your program. I’m sure that’s what they will do. They also had issues with staff and it saw people coming in and out of the program. It hasn’t been the same person who has run the high performance program over the years.”

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Wallabies legend Tim Horan wasn’t interested in speculating on the reasons for the injuries but said they exposed Dave Rennie’s side badly.

Australia have won just four of their 13 Tests this year and have fallen to eighth in the world rankings.

“The only problem I have is that we all thought the Wallabies had better depth and that didn’t show there against Italy,” Horan said.

“But injuries are a problem and you’re right, they just need to address it and see how they can change it. The biggest ones are for Quade Cooper, Taniela Tupou and Samu Kerevi.

“These are the three big names that everyone hopes will be back for the Rugby World Cup next year.”

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