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Wallabies playmakers Quade Cooper, Tom Banks suffer injuries

Sat, 02/07/2022, 9:53 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies hosted England in their first international of 2022.

The Wallabies have suffered a major blow with flyhalf Quade Cooper and fullback Tom Banks suffering injuries

Cooper suffered a calf injury during the warm-up ahead of the first Test of the year, with Noah Lolesio coming into the starting side as James O'Connor is added to the bench.

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He was spotted before the game clutching his ankle alongside Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and the training staff.

The 34-year-old last featured for the Wallabies against Japan, returning as one of three International selections.

His absence allows Lolesio to partner Nic White in the halves, with the young playmaker praising his relationship with Cooper before the series.

“Quade’s been awesome ever since last year when he came into the squad,” Lolesio told reporters.

“In my opinion, he’s mastered the craft of being a flyhalf and we’ve been feeding off each other ever since the camp started last week.

“We’re just talking about variations of our attack, especially being a flyhalf because you obviously are in the spotlight of decision making and just choosing the right decision.

“He’s been awesome, he’s been telling me how to handle things on and off the field and I’ve been picking his brains ever since.

“It’s a healthy relationship. You can only get the best out of each other if you are competing. Off the field, we’re just mucking around and having a laugh and when it’s time to flip the switch, we do that and we feed off each other really well.”

Reds playmaker James O'Connor has been rushed into the side, having missed selection after coach Dave Rennie admitted he was 'not sharp enough' after his return from injury.

Meanwhile, Banks left the field after a nasty collision in the 20th minute.

With the Wallabies trailing 6-0 after a pair of Owen Farrell penalties, Banks went to contest the kickoff before landing awkwardly on his arm in gruesome fashion.

The Brumbies fullback suffered a similar injury in the Rugby Championship last year against South Africa, with Jordan Petaia slotting onto the wing as Andrew Kellaway moves to fullback.

"It's pretty serious," Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said of Banks' latest injury. 

"It was total commitment to the kick-off, and he ended up high and flipped over the back of someone. It was no fault of the English. 

"I'm gutted for Banksy, because he's worked so hard to get back. He's had a great season. We'll miss him."

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