Planet Rugby

Wallaby lock to miss start of season

05th February 2014 05:48


Hugh McMeniman for Western Force

No risks: Hugh McMeniman

Hugh McMeniman is set to miss the early rounds of the Western Force's Super Rugby season after undergoing surgery in August.

The Wallaby lock will not feature in the Force's season opener against the Waratahs on February 23 as coach Michael Foley takes a cautious approach to McMeniman recovery from a complicated shoulder injury.

The 30-year-old second row's season by hampered by shoulder problems in 2013, coming to a preamture end during the Wallabies' Rugby Championship campaign.

He feature against the Brumbies on March 1 or the Rebels a week later if all goes to plan but Foley said on Wednesday that McMeniman's return wouldn't be rushed.

Western Force coach Michael Foley will take a no-risk approach with Hugh McMeniman as the star Wallaby recovers from a complicated shoulder injury.

"There's no pressure on the medical team. We have to make sure that shoulder is 100 per cent," Foley told AAP

"It was a particularly serious shoulder injury. There were probably three injuries in one," he said.

"There were a couple of tears in there and also a break. Each one of those issues would have taken six months to rehab.

"It's been a complex situation.

"Hugh plays hard and he injures in interesting ways as a result of that."

McMeniman's absence means South African marquee signing Wilhelm Steenkamp and Sam Wykes are set to get the starting berths in the second row.

Matt Hodgson will lead the side that features both of the club's Wallaby representatives from last year's European our in winger Nick Cummins and number eight Ben McCalman against Samoa A in their opening pre-season fixture at Lark Hill Sports Complex in Rockingham on Friday.

The match will also signal the return of Nathan Charles and Kyle Godwin, who both missed the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season due to knee and shoulder surgeries respectively.

The match will provide the Force fans with their first opportunity to see a number of the Western Force's new recruits in action, including returning local product Zack Holmes, former Brumbies scrum-half Ian Prior, Wallabies and Australian Sevens flyer Luke Morahan, Cottesloe scrum-half Ryan Louwrens, former Northland rake Robbie Abel, and the South African trio of outside back Marcel Brache, back-rower Brynard Stander and Steenkamp.

"We've been going at it pretty hard during the pre-season, so we're all looking forward to getting on the field and actually testing some of the things we've been practising," Foley said.

The Force managed just four wins and a draw from 16 games last season, but Foley is confident his team will be able to get better results this season.

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