Haylett-Petty 'bitterly disappointed' after injury

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies winger Dane Haylett-Petty is 'bitterly disappointed' to be ruled out of this weekend's Test against the Springboks, coach Michael Cheika says.

Haylett-Petty has battled the injury since late in the Super Rugby season, forcing him out of the first Bledisloe, before tearing it entirely in the second and ultimately opting this week to undergo surgery and end his year.

Cheika said the 28-year-old desperately wanted to be a part of Saturday's match, especially after an emotional week for rugby in WA in the wake of Rugby WA's Supreme Court loss that has condemned the Force to the Super Rugby axe.

"He's bitterly disappointed that he's not playing this game," Cheika said.

 

"There's been a lot of talk amongst the team around what Saturday is going to mean in perhaps a symbolif sense as well from us as the team to the people over here.

 

"Of course the players who are based in Perth feel that and we want to do that for them as well and Dane, I think one of the huge disappointments for him, apart from missing out on the Test match is missing out on this one in particular."

Dane Haylett-Petty has been ruled out of the Wallabies' Perth Test. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyCheika, who is normally more focused on the next player's opportunity when it comes to absences, admitted Haylett-Petty's was a big loss.

"Since he's come into the team, he's held a really particular role that we have," he said.

"He plays fullback in his club team, but he holds that role of wing and second fullback for us - excellent under the high ball, got  kicking game and then his attacking game, his footwork is excellent as well.

"Ever since he's come into the team, from 2016, he's made himself a mainstay pretty much."

Reece Hodge will replace Haylett-Petty in the starting team, with Cheika looking for a 'like for like' subsitute. 

I suppose that's where we've come around with the replacement, going a little bit more like for like there with Hodge," he said.

"He's obviously not an out and out winger, but neither's Dane in that fact."

Cheika said Haylett-Petty would immediately return to Test consideration in 2018, once he was back at Super Rugby level.

"He's certainly not a player that we'll be saying 'oh, you've got to prove yourself all over again', he's straight back into this group and then (he needs to) get back to the level and when he's back at the level he'll be back at Test footy."

Australia takes on the Springboks in Perth on Saturday night, kicking off at 6pm AWST, 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.

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