Waratahs centre Lalakai Foketi taken to hospital with neck injury

Thu, Feb 22, 2024, 4:42 AM
by AAP and Nathan Williamson

Wallabies centre Lalakai Foketi has been taken to hospital in an ambulance after suffering a neck injury at NSW Waratahs training.

Foketi was treated for more than half an hour by medics after an apparently innocuous incident during training at the Waratahs' Daceyville base in Sydney on Thursday.

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Coach Darren Coleman said the 29-year-old had movement in his fingers and the star's wife would meet Foketi at hospital.

"The NSW Waratahs can confirm that centre Lalakai Foketi sustained an injury to his neck at training in Daceyville today," the club said in a statement

"Foketi was taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick by ambulance following the incident which occurred during the field session this morning.

"The club is awaiting the results from the scans and Foketi’s family are with him in hospital. Club representatives have been on hand to provide support throughout the day."

The injury comes just two days before the Tahs' season-opening Super Rugby clash against the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

Foketi, a member of Australia's World Cup squad last year and the scorer of the Wallabies' try of the season in 2022, had been named to start at inside centre in a star-studded midfield with Izaia Perese.

The pair started the final game of the World Cup campaign in a win over Portugal

Coleman will almost certainly need to find a replacement and may consider promoting teenage sensation Max Jorgensen from the bench into the starting XV.

Jorgensen only made his comeback from a fractured fibula in a trial last Saturday against a combined Manly and Warringah outfit.

The 19-year-old survived 40 minutes unscathed after being forced home early from the World Cup in France without featuring in any of Australia's games.

Should Coleman go that way, Jorgensen would likely start at fullback and Joey Walton be shifted to the centres.

Otherwise Mosese Tupulotu, the brother of Scotland midfielder Sione, may come into the centres to team with Perese, allowing Jorgensen to be eased back into the fold as the Waratahs had hoped.

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