Another injury setback for Wallabies playmaker James O’Connor puts Quade Cooper in the picture to once again face the Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
O’Connor hobbled off with a hamstring problem in the Reds’ 34-22 win over Moana Pasifika in Brisbane on Friday night. He had only returned the previous week from a knee injury.
The Boks are to face the Australians at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, 27 August and their second encounter scheduled for the following week in New South Wales on 3 September.
O’Connor’s absence in the 2021 Rugby Championship paved the way for Cooper to earn a memorable recall. The 34-year-old marked his return to Test rugby by kicking the winning penalty against the Boks on the Gold Coast in September.
O’Connor is set to be sidelined for up to four weeks and will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season, the Reds said, but barring complications is expected to be fit for Australia’s July series against England.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was in the stands watching O’Connor on Friday and is expected to name an extended squad for the England series in the next few weeks.
Capped 59 times, O’Connor is seen as an integral part of his plans as Australia look to the World Cup in France next year.
The Wallabies play three Tests against Eddie Jones’ England in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney on 2, 9 and 16 July, respectively.
© Agence France-Presse