Fractured ankle rules Hodge out of Bledisloe, Spring Tour

International
by Sam Phillips

Reece Hodge's season is over.

Hodge fractured his ankle in an innocuous training incident and he will not play against the All Blacks in Japan or fly to Europe for the remainder of the Spring Tour.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika confirmed the centre would not take part in his team's four remaining matches this season on Sunday.

Cheika is left with limited options in trying to replace Hodge.

Samu Kerevi may have to be rushed into a Test rugby return having played his first minutes since the June Tests in the Byron Bay Sevens at the weekend.

"I think he had three games scheduled and one had to forfeit so he got two games under his belt," Cheika said of Kerevi.

"He's got a good block of training under his belt and he is probably a bit underdone but he has a lot of experience as well.

"We will decide once he arrives and we get him on the training paddock whether we think he is in the sort of condition he needs to be to play at least some part this weekend."

Samu Kerevi could be thrust straight back into the Wallabies' starting XV. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyOutside of a straight swap for Kerevi Cheika may have to get creative.

Israel Folau could push into the centres having done so for the Waratahs sporadically over the years and there is also the presence of Sefa Naivalu in the squad to consider.

After the Bledisloe Cheika will call for some reinforcements.

Both Jordan Petaia and Adam Ashley-Cooper are tipped to join the squad in Europe and Matt Toomua will also return from Leicester duties.

"I was thinking about bringing a couple of development players for the European section (of the tour) and we will just have to see," Cheika said of his options.

"We are looking at bringing in someone who hasn't been in the squad up until now."

Hodge's Melbourne teammate Angus Cottrell will also miss the Bledisloe having suffered an MCL injury at training on Thursday.

Pete Samu will fly straight from Fiji to join the squad in Japan after playing a part in the Vikings' loss to the Fijian Drua in the first NRC semi final.

While those injuries will undoubtedly cause some selection headaches Cheika has a clear directive for his team as they strive to finish the season with a string of wins.


"Every game we are going out to win and expect to win," he said.

"We have to prepare accordingly.

"But I don't want to just say that.

"We have to deliver to get the result for all our supporters."

Cheika spent Sunday at the Sapporo Dome - the stadium which will host the Wallabies' first match of the 2019 World Cup, against Fiji.


While the quirks of the stadium were a nice touch on first impression there will be few pleasantries when Cheika returns to the ground on September 21.

The number of Tests until that World Cup opener keeps dwindling and, subsequently, the time to turn potential into progress on field is now.

"What we know is that potential doesn't turn into trophies," Cheika said.

"Potential doesn't turn into championships.

"We need to make sure that potential comes through and the players know that as well.

"That's our job. To harness that and make sure we come out and show it on a regular basis and sustain it for longer in games."

The Wallabies take on New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday October 27, kicking off at 2:45pm local, 4:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

SQUAD

Wallabies squad to face the All Blacks in Japan

Forwards

Jermaine Ainsley (1 Test, Melbourne Rebels, 23)

Allan Alaalatoa (29 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Rory Arnold (18 Tests , Brumbies, 28)

Adam Coleman (28 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jack Dempsey (6 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 24)

Folau Fainga’a (5 Tests, Brumbies, 23)

Ned Hanigan (17 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Jed Holloway* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Michael Hooper (c) (87 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Sekope Kepu (99 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)

Tolu Latu (9 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Brandon Paenga-Amosa (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

David Pocock (74 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Izack Rodda (13 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Pete Samu (7 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Rob Simmons (90 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Scott Sio (51 Tests, Brumbies, 27)

Taniela Tupou (8 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Backs

Tom Banks (2 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Kurtley Beale (80 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Israel Folau (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Bernard Foley (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Will Genia (96 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Jake Gordon* (uncapped, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Dane Haylett-Petty (27 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Samu Kerevi (21 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)

Marika Koroibete (17 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jack Maddocks (5 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 21)

Sefa Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Nick Phipps (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

*denotes uncapped