Hanson injury opens door for in-form Latu

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies reserve hooker James Hanson has gone under the knife after breaking his jaw in training this week, opening the door for Tolu Latu to potentially make his Wallabies debut against Wales.

Latu was named in Australia’s 23 on Thursday and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika revealed Hanson was unavailable because of the injury.

“He's had a small fracture in his jaw,” he said.

“It's been operated on already and we're hoping he'll stay on the tour.”

Cheika said Latu’s form in training had been strong during the week, coinciding with Hanson’s injury

“I've been quite pleased with him [Latu], obviously, we made the selection to bring him over (even though) Andrew Ready probably had a better Super Rugby season, but Tolu in NRC we've liked his bigger frame and what he's brought to the party,” he said.

James Hanson fractured his jaw in training. Photo: Getty Images“He was in contention for selection. And that falls into line with Hanson getting injured on Tuesday as well, so he's unavailable for selection.

“The two things met and it's Tolu's time now.”

Queensland Reds hooker Ready is already in the UK, part of the Barbarians squad to face South Africa this weekend, but Cheika said they wouldn’t be rushing him into the squad, with Hanson set to remain with the team despite his injury.

“Let's not put someone in the ground yet,” he said.

“Let's give him a chance to get up and get ready and we'll worry about replacements later on.”

The Test between the Wallabies and Wales will be screened LIVE on BeIN Sports 3 (Foxtel channel 515) from 1.00am AEDT. Fans can also LIVE stream the match on Foxtel GO (for Foxtel subscribers).