James O'Connor 'likely' to miss Bledisloe Cup

Sun, 25/07/2021, 06:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has conceded flyhalf James O'Connor is likely to miss the Bledisloe Cup due to injury.

O'Connor has not played since Super Rugby Trans-Tasman as he manages a groin complaint.

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The 31-year-old suffered a setback at the start of training camp before the France series, with Rennie indicating he once again aggravated the injury ahead of the second Test.

With uncertain surrounding their movements and limiting the players available to join the camp given the COVID outbreaks, Rennie is not expecting the flyhalf to be available for the series, set to start August 7.

“He tweaked his groin on the Tuesday when we were down in Melbourne,” Rennie said on Sunday.

“That’s going to be see him sidelined and as we know with the fact we have to go to New Zealand and then onto Perth, it’s likely he will miss all three.”

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He also confirmed boom Waratahs centre Izaia Perese will be pushing for a return on the end-of-year tour of Europe after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.

“Izaia we named in the initial squad and he’s had an operation on his shoulder so best case scenario for him will be end-of-year tournament,” Rennie admitted.

“We really rate him. The fact that he’s in NSW, even if he was fit, it would be an issue so he’s not an option at the moment.”

Despite this, the Wallabies received some positive news with Reds back Jordan Petaia and Brumbies duo Nic White and Scott Sio cleared to return to camp.

Petaia, who missed the Trans-Tasman portion of Super Rugby, was set to make his return via club football, however, was pulled out due to COVID concerns.

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However, Rennie is confident he will play a major part in the upcoming Bledisloe and Rugby Championship, suggesting they were tempted to throw him back into the side for the final Test against France.

“It was a bit unfortunate. He was going to play club rugby on the weekend but based on potential COVID issues, he had to be pulled out as did a number of our players that we wanted to get some footy,” Rennie said on Petaia.

“He’s in good nick, has worked hard during that period. He was training with us for a couple of weeks of the French series.

“Even the way he trained, all us old people were tempted to thrown him in. We got excited watching him train but we want to make sure we’ve done everything to make sure when he returns, he’s ready to go. Ideally a club game would’ve been good but that’s not an option now.”

He also confirmed Reds teammate Suliasi Vunivalu will be aiming to return for The Rugby Championship as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

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