Australia captain James Horwill will miss his team’s next two Rugby Championship matches after injuring his hamstring in training, dealing a blow to the Wallabies’ chances of rebounding from back-to-back losses.
Scrum-half Will Genia will take over as skipper for the match against South Africa in Brisbane in two days after Horwill, 28, got injured yesterday, the team said in a statement. Kane Douglas will replace him in the second row.
“It’s extremely disappointing to lose James but, after discussions with medical staff, we felt it was important not to risk further injury when he isn’t ready,” Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said. “Scans revealed his injury was on the lower end in terms of severity and we expect him to be back to full fitness when we embark on our two-game tour of South Africa and Argentina in a few weeks.”
Australia, which hosts Argentina in Perth on Sept. 14, is pointless at the bottom of the southern hemisphere championship standings following successive defeats to New Zealand, which today recalled fly-half Dan Carter and handed Francis Saili his Test debut for its home game against the Pumas in two days.
Saili, 22, replaced the injured Ma’a Nonu at inside center in one of the three starting changes that beat Australia on Aug. 24. He’s the 17th player to make his Test debut for New Zealand during the past two seasons.
“We have complete faith in his ability to do the job,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said of Saili’s selection. “He is a very exciting, young player who has a multitalented skill set that should suit Test rugby.”
Carter, who missed both matches against the Wallabies because of a calf injury, returns to the playmaking position in place of Tom Taylor. Prop Charlie Faumuina came in for Owen Franks, who has a calf strain.
REVISED AUSTRALIA TEAM: Israel Folau, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali’ifano, James O’Connor, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (captain), Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper.
Reserves: Saia Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Ben Alexander, Ben McCalman, Jake Schatz, Nic White, Matt Toomua, Jesse Mogg.
NEW ZEALAND: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Francis Saili, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Steven Luatua, Samuel Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
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