Wallabies: Michael Hooper the latest casualty ahead of Autumn Nations Test against Wales

Colin Newboult

2SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Michael Hooper of the Australia Wallabies looks down during the rugby international test match between Australia Wallabies and England at The Sydney Cricket Ground on July 16, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Credit Image: © Steven Markham/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Flanker Michael Hooper will miss Australia’s final Autumn Nations Series clash against Wales after displaying concussion symptoms following the game with Ireland.

The back-row becomes the seventh Australian player to be forced home after that encounter in Dublin.

Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini and Nic White had already been ruled out prior to Hooper suffering a head injury.

Down to the bare bones

It leaves the Wallabies with just 25 players for this weekend’s game at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, while there are no spare backs available.

Australia have endured a wretched season and go into the final match of the year with just one victory on their northern hemisphere tour so far.

The gruelling five-match series started well enough with a narrow win over Scotland, but they have since suffered tough losses to France, Italy and Ireland.

They were very much in all those contests but came out on the wrong end of the scoreline.

Dave Rennie’s men are desperate to end a difficult campaign with a win, especially as they seek to ease the pressure on the head coach.

Rennie went into the tour with just a 38 per cent win record as the Wallabies’ boss and that has only decreased since then.

The match with Wales offers a chance of a certain amount of redemption, however, with Wayne Pivac’s charges struggling even more than their Aussie counterparts.

The Welsh succumbed to Georgia last weekend in one of the sport’s biggest shocks and have dropped to ninth in the world rankings.

Jordan Petaia is one of those who will be involved in Australia’s squad for Saturday’s clash in Cardiff.

Own injury troubles

Petaia has himself endured an injury-troubled time of it, but the 22-year-old has, for arguably the first time in his career, managed to string a succession of games together in 2022.

“Probably a bit of a roller-coaster,” the versatile back said.

“A bit like Jed, it’s probably the longest stretch of footy I’ve had this year in terms of health-wise, so it’s positive to look at it from that perspective.

“There’s been it’s been a lot of learnings, a lot of time spent probably rehabbing as well, but it’s just good to have a bit more footy this year.

“If you are on all the time, it can be draining so making sure you are taking the time to switch off is good for the final legs of the tour.”

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