The Wallabies injury toll will be investigated after the Spring Tour

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos says the Wallabies’ injury-riddled run is “disturbing” and will be reviewed at the end of the Spring Tour.

Dave Rennie has just 25 fit players to draw in the final match of the five-game tour against Wales on Sunday, with Michael Hooper heading home after picking up concussion against Ireland.

In a year in which more than 30 Wallabies were injured and 50 players were used in the Test leg, the headline statistic is four Achilles tendon ruptures in the squad.

The latest hit was Taniela Tupou, who missed games earlier in the season with a calf problem.

“I have full confidence in my S and C and our medical staff,” Rennie said after Auckland’s second Bledisloe Cup defeat, declaring the Wallabies had “some of the best in the world” working on the team’s strength and conditioning staff.

The S&C team have been troubled by the departures of Dean Benton and John Pryor this year and are looking to hire a performance manager.

Marinos told the Sydney Morning Herald that instability “is a factor. I don’t think it’s a huge contribution, but our two S’s and C’s have moved on, so there’s been a bit of disruption during the season.

“At the same time, we are very aware of player load and management when we go through. It is really important that we get an S and C head for the 2023 season. This is a priority for us.”

The injury list will form part of a comprehensive independent review in December, and it is believed that Rennie’s future will also be discussed. The Kiwi said he wants his post-World Cup future resolved quickly.

“It was definitely unprecedented,” Marinos told SMH. “What’s confusing to me is the innocuous nature of some of these injuries, as related as they are. All this came as a surprise.

Australia’s Taniela Tupou is sent off to attract media attention during the Ireland v Australia match. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

“But four Achilles tendons in one season is quite a concern, so there will definitely be a review.

“It’s too high [injury] incidence rate. I look at the roster and there are 11 guys on this tour that are not available right now. Rest assured, it worries us all. With the World Cup coming up and the big Super Rugby season starting next year, we certainly want all these lads to step up.”

Wallaby Jed Holloway, who has also spent time on the sidelines this year, said the loss of the player was “upsetting” for the team.

“I think I speak for the whole group, we’re disappointed with any player we lose,” Holloway said.

“Our medical staff is doing everything they can to get the boys ready. We simply had a rough march.”

Welsh adults Wild Beer

Former Wales captain Gwyn Jones and ex-Lions representative Jamie Roberts piled on coach Wayne Pivac ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Wallabies.

The pressure is mounting on Kiwi Pivac after last weekend’s shock 13-12 loss to Georgia in Cardiff.

Wales won just three Tests from 11 in 2022.

“You don’t see any progress. I think he’s out of his depth at this level and I don’t see Wales improving. He’s been in charge for three years and we’re no better team now than when he started,” Jones told Welsh channel S4C.

“He’s come to change Wales’ game, to play with pace and score goals and we’re hardly scoring against anyone.

“We had a good championship, where our red cards were going for us. But other than that there isn’t much to write home about. We lost to Italy, which was disappointing, and we won in South Africa, but we’re right back where we were.”

Pivac replaced Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup and won 14 out of 34 Tests. There have been calls for a Gatland comeback in Wales.

“A national coach needs to know who his best players are and how they want to play, and those are two things he’s not doing right. There’s no plan and I don’t see that changing,” Jones said, describing the loss to Georgia as “the worst I can remember.”

“The players looked very flat, without energy, without spirit. Where is the heart?

“For me, the players are good enough to beat Georgia, but if they don’t know what the plan is on the pitch, then they will look like they have no direction and that was the biggest problem.

“I don’t think the team knows how they’re meant to try and attack, what their plans are, how they’re going to score.”

Meanwhile, Roberts, who spent this year with the Waratahs, added: “I think there are serious questions to be asked about the coaching side.

“We are talking about the motivation of the players. As a player, yes, you play for your country and wear the three feathers, but you also play for your coach. It is unacceptable for a Welsh team to come out at half-time and perform like that. Therefore, serious questions should be asked.”

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton says there could be deep-seated problems in Welsh rugby.

“Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric… these guys are the ones I love playing with. They are true rugby warriors and tough men. I don’t question them,” Warburton said.

“But I think that if this is not expressed on the field, there must be deeper, deep-rooted issues.

“Players – why are they not motivated? Why are they not desperate? I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t challenge players. There are some tough, big opponents out there, some of the best players I’ve ever played with.

“But somehow, it doesn’t translate into pitches and maybe there’s something we don’t know, so maybe they’re not fully motivated right now.”

The progress of the All Blacks was questioned

All Blacks great Justin Marshall asked if the All Blacks were continuing a modern trend in the game.

Appearing on the Evening Standard podcast with Lawrence Dallaglio, he agreed with the former England star’s assessment that the Autumn Series showed “the game has changed in terms of the laws and brought the hemispheres closer than ever”.

“I totally agree,” Marshall said. “And we don’t see a greater amount of counter-attacking rugby. The All Blacks were always lethal – when teams aimlessly gave the ball back to them.

“You had a guy like Richie McCaw, then you had a little more freedom at the snap, more freedom than you have now, especially on defense, to turn that ball over and catch the opponent. The All Blacks really got going and got their team jumping because of their counter-attack.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“You don’t see them doing that now. They are a team that is more focused on the playing field.”

He said the All Blacks haven’t continued to shift towards bigger men in the back row.

“I certainly feel and agree that the two best teams in the world at the moment are France and Ireland and it’s very difficult to separate them both. They have quality on the park,” Marshall said.

“Where are we? [New Zealand] We didn’t adapt, we didn’t understand that the game is now about big, strong ball carriers, men who are hard to get away from the wreckage, and we didn’t adapt.

“We are still a little light in these areas. I look at the Irish and French back rows in particular, they’re just huge, men. Argentinians, they are just big savages.

“Big ball runners usually command two tacklers that leave you short defensively, and we don’t have that kind of ball carrier right now.

“So, in short, I agree with you, the laws have changed a little bit, which allows teams to be a little less mobile, but bigger and tougher, and secondly, I think the All Blacks have gone away.”

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