The 30-year-old had only returned the week previously from a knee injury with his absence keenly felt by the Reds, whose season went off track with a four-game losing streak. The undermanned Queensland now face an even tougher prospect to travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders in the final round clash on Friday night. Sitting seventh, they may also meet the Crusaders at Orangetheory Stadium again in the quarter-finals the following weekend.
Knee Injury With His Absence Keenly Felt by The Reds
Absence Keenly Felt by The Reds Another scenario would see the Reds take on the Brumbies in Canberra in week one of the play-offs. Queensland say O’Connor is an outside chance to return for the semi-finals or final should they make it that far. The Reds have battled a torrid injury toll with fellow Wallabies stars Hunter Paisami and tighthead prop Taniela Tupou in the casualty ward. Centre Josh Flook dislocated his shoulder against Moana Pasifika.
I don’t wish that on anyone, Hooper, the 118-test veteran and two-time Absence Keenly Felt by The Reds World Rugby Player of the Year nominee, said. He Gilbertshould miss some weeks I think.” Losing Gilbert to suspension would put the Highlanders in a tricky situation at first-five given the added unavailability of frontline pivot Mitch Hunt.
Sidelined due to lingering concussion symptoms following his head clash with Force midfielder Richard Kahui, Hunt’s absence compounds the expected loss of Gilbert, leaving Highlanders head coach Tony Brown to dig deep into his squad. Loose forwards Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight as well as cross-code winger Suliasi Vunivalu have also spent time on the sidelines.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie
who was in the stands at Suncorp, will name his 36-player squad in two weeks. Brumbies five-eighth Noah Lolesio, who himself has battled some injuries, is healthy again and has found form to help steer his third-placed team into the finals. He and Quade Cooper will likely vie to wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey in the opening Test against England on July 2 in Perth if O’Connor is unable to prove his fitness.