The Waratahs suffered another setback, as their pre-season woes threatened to derail their attempts to finally clinch a Super Rugby title.
Rugby 365 reports that it was confirmed on Monday that, less than two weeks away from their first pre-season trial, wing Ratu Nasiganiyavi has been ruled out for an extended period with a serious foot injury.
Nasiganiyavi’s is the latest in a series of injury and other setbacks over the past few months – which has seen four members of the Waratahs squad ruled out for extended periods.
Outside back Ben Batger is unlikely to play any part in the 2009 campaign following a shoulder reconstruction late last year, while props Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu are both also on the sidelines following injuries suffered while playing for the Wallabies against the Barbarians at Wembley in December.
Add to this the departure of lock Dan Vickerman, as well as back row forwards David Lyons and Rocky Elsom to the Northern Hemisphere, and the ‘Tahs appear to be withering in their pre-season build-up.
After pulling up sore after training late last week, Nasiganiyavi went for scans which revealed a stress fracture near the ankle which will see the rookie out for at least two months.
“This kind of injury usually takes a long time to diagnose so it was good management by our medical staff to pick it up as early as they did,” said head coach Chris Hickey.
“It’s unfortunate for Ratu because the trials would have been extremely important for him to try and push for a place in the 22 in his first Super 14 season.
“While you always want your best players to be available, it does provide the opportunity for someone else to step up and grab it with both hands,” added Hickey.
“We’re continuing to look at our options of adding to the squad if the opportunity arises. If the right player comes along then we’ll certainly be interested.”
Nasiganiyavi shot to prominence during the 2008 Shute Shield as a standout try-scorer for Randwick, signing with the Waratahs in June alongside his cousin, Lote Tuqiri.
With the exception of the players sidelined with injury, the Waratahs returned to a full squad on Monday with props Al Baxter and Benn Robinson joining the team for the first time in 2009.
“It’s pleasing to assemble the full squad and begin our preparations for the trials and then the start of the Super 14 season,” said Hickey.
“Particularly considering the injuries to Matt and Sekope, getting two international props back in the squad is a big boost with the first trial just around the corner.”
The Waratahs play their first pre-season match against the Reds in Toowoomba on Saturday 24 January.Tweet