Planet Rugby

Wallabies face hooker crisis

04th August 2014 08:49

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Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota Nau in pain

Ruled out of Bledisloe 1: Tatafu Polota-Nau

Australia face a major crisis at hooker ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup clash with New Zealand after Tatafu Polota-Nau was ruled out with a medial ligament injury.

The 29-year-old limped off during the Waratahs' Super Rugby final win against the Crusaders on Saturday, and now faces a spell on the sidelines that will keep him out of the Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks in Sydney on August 16.

With the two sides facing off again the following week, at Eden Park in Auckland, it seems certain that Polota-Nau will miss both matches against New Zealand, with Force hooker Nathan Charles in line to earn a first start.

Polota-Nau's injury is the second major blow in the hooking department suffered by Ewen McKenzie and his coaching staff this season after Stephen Moore's cruciate ligament tear during the June Tests against France.

Brumbies star Moore had recently been named Wallaby captain but was forced off in the opening minutes of the first Test against les Bleus before being ruled out for the year.

Charles now looks set to take over starting duties, having only made his Wallaby debut off the bench in the second Test against France in June.

James Hanson of the Reds was the only other hooker named in the original squad, and he has not featured for the Wallabies since making his debut as a replacement against the All Blacks in Brisbane two years ago.

However after confirmation of Polota-Nau's injury, his Waratahs team-mate Tolu Latu has been called up as cover.

The Wallabies have not beaten New Zealand since 2011, however that was also the last time an Australian side claimed the Super Rugby title.

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