Wallaby to miss Super Rugby Pacific’s start after injuring his neck at Waratahs training

David Skippers
Lalakai Foketi Waratahs v Drua SRP 2022 - PA.jpg

Waratahs and Wallabies centre Lalakai Foketi.

The Waratahs suffered a big setback on the eve of Super Rugby Pacific’s start when Wallabies centre Lalakai Foketi injured his neck at a training session.

There was great concern about the 29-year-old’s wellbeing as he was taken to hospital in an ambulance after being treated for more than 30 minutes by medics at the Waratahs’ Daceyville base in Sydney on Thursday following a seemingly harmless incident at training.

Waratahs head coach Darren Coleman revealed that Foketi had movement in his fingers and his wife would meet him at hospital.

Club statement

“The NSW Waratahs can confirm that centre Lalakai Foketi sustained an injury to his neck at training in Daceyville today,” the club said in a statement.

“Foketi was taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick by ambulance following the incident which occurred during the field session this morning.

“The club is awaiting the results from the scans and Foketi’s family are with him in hospital. Club representatives have been on hand to provide support throughout the day.”

The injury comes just a couple of days ahead of the Waratahs’ Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Coleman named Foketi in his starting line-up at inside centre alongside Izaia Perese to form an exciting midfield combination.

Foketi was part of Australia’s 33-man squad at last year’s Rugby World Cup in France and he scored the Wallabies’ try of the season in 2022.

Chance for Max Jorgensen

His place in the run-on side for the derby against the Reds could be taken by exciting starlet Max Jorgensen, who has been named amongst the Waratahs’ replacements for the derby.

The 19-year-old was also in the Wallabies’ World Cup squad but was forced to withdraw after sustaining a fractured fibula at training. Jorgensen returned to action at the weekend in a pre-season game for the Waratahs against a combined Manly and Warringah side.

If Jorgensen is elevated to the starting line-up, Jorgensen is expected to start at full-back with Joey Walton moving to the centres. If not, Mosese Tuipulotu, who is the younger brother of Scotland centre Sione, could start alongside Perese in midfield with Jorgensen remaining amongst the replacements.

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