Waratahs back-rower Wycliff Palu is likely to miss the rest of the season and undergo a knee operation after being injured in last night’s Super 14 blockbuster against the Crusaders.
Rupert Guiness writes for Rugbyheaven Aus that Palu, who on Friday announced he had re-signed with the NSW and Australian rugby unions for two years, hurt his knee in the 61st minute of the Waratahs’ 20-13 loss to the Crusaders, which saw them drop from first place on the ladder to third.
He was injured when he fell awkwardly in a tackle near the sideline when the Waratahs were still 13-12 up. But as soon as he went down, his grimace and tight hold of his right knee indicated it was serious.
Waratahs medico Dr Sharron Flahive rushed to his side and after several minutes assisted him off the field for a diagnosis but coach Chris Hickey last night indicated Palu’s season was over and he would probably need a knee reconstruction.
If confirmed, Palu – who last night left AMI Stadium on crutches – would also miss the entire Wallabies season and face a period of rehabilitation that would extend into Waratahs pre-season training next year.
”We have still got to confirm the initial diagnosis, but Sharron feels pretty confident he has done the cruciate ligament and the medial ligament as well,” Hickey said.
”If the diagnosis is accurate then he will probably have to go straight in for a knee ‘recon’. That’s five or six months’ rehab … so that will finish his season. It is a big loss for us. Cliffy is an important part of the team on and off the field. [But] particularly [important], his ball-carrying ability is something is difficult to replace.”
Palu will fly back to Sydney today with a battered and bruised Waratahs squad and is expected to undergo scans tomorrow. However, he is not the only injury concern for the Waratahs as they go into their bye round. Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and prop Benn Robinson are likely to both need scans upon their return to Sydney.
Polota-Nau suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder and came off very late in the game; Robinson sustained a blow to his forearm and came off at the 65th minute after losing feeling in his hand.
Five-eighth Daniel Halangahu suffered a medial ligament strain, but as it was judged a grade-one injury, he should be OK to play when the Waratahs face the Brumbies in Sydney in round 11 in two weeks.
Hickey, while ruing the inability to score any points because of the bye, conceded the weekend off was timely considering the injuries.
”You know the bye is coming. That you are not going to get any points that week. But in terms of injuries it has probably been a timely arrival,” he said. ”It gives us a chance to deal with them, recoup and then prepare for the Brumbies.”
Meanwhile, Hickey said he was disappointed his side didn’t take advantage of chances to score points early in the game, even though he was confident the Waratahs could rectify their deficiencies in time to meet the Brumbies.
”We created some opportunities in the first 20 minutes that we didn’t capitalise on. Then we ended up playing the game at the wrong end of the field for the last 15 minutes,” he said.
But he praised the Crusaders scrum for their strength against his forward pack, which has prided itself on their set piece. ”They are probably two of the better scrums of the competition,” he said of the Waratahs and Crusaders packs. ”The penalty count finished up about four to one against us, so we will have to have a close look at what was happening there.”Tweet