An “alarming” injury toll of over 40 separate incidents within the Wallabies camp this international season will come under review following the conclusion of the Wallabies end-of-year tour, Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos reported to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The injury woes were prevalent from the outset for Dave Rennie as the coach lost his three top fullbacks to various injuries during the three-match series with England back in July.
Rennie has fielded 50 players in the Wallabies’ 14-test 2022 calendar, a number only equaled by last year’s campaign.
“It certainly has been unprecedented,” Marinos said. “I look at this list now … the part for me that is puzzling, as much as it is concerning, is just the innocuous nature of some of these injuries. It has all come as a surprise.
“But four Achilles tendons in one season is quite alarming, so absolutely there is going to be a review. It is a very high [injury] accident rate. I am looking at a list and there are 11 guys on this tour who aren’t available now. Rest assured, it is a concern to all of us. We have a World Cup looming and a big Super Rugby season starting up next year, we certainly want all of these guys back on their feet.
“We will be looking at getting an independent review to get a fresh set of eyes and we will certainly be working with the medical team, and management, to see what they’ve picked up. We are going to be thorough.”
Rugby Australia is currently scouting for a new national head of athletic performance following the departure of the highly regarded Dean Benton. Marinos admitted the movement in the national team’s strength and conditioning unit had caused “a bit of a disruption during the season.
“We are very aware of player load and management as we go through. It is really important that we get a head S&C (strength and conditioning) locked in for the 2023 season. That’s a priority for us.”
Earlier in the week, the Wallabies’ injury toll was highlighted on The Aotearoa Rugby podwhere ex-All Black James Parsons asked the question if a review was needed given the number of players unavailable for Australia’s final test of the year.
“Do they potentially need to look at that with the amount of injuries,” Parsons queried. “Especially soft tissue ones, Tanilea Tupou is another one that went down, I know it was after a dominant scrum, but obviously something needs to change because they can’t keep being without this much key personnel.
“We’ve spoken about the consistency of selection, it’s probably failed for them in the sense that because they haven’t had that relationship with each other, you look at that first half, how many opportunities they had but they didn’t take them.
“There needs to be, clearly a review, but there does need to be some changes in their weekly structure to get the best out of their athletes.”
Dave Rennie’s history of injury-riddled teams was called out by the podcast’s host, Ross Karl, who questioned whether it was “a look-in-the-mirror situation” for the coach.
Wallabies lock Jed Holloway commented on the run of injuries the team has faced this season, labeling them as purely “unlucky”.
“We know our medical staff here are doing everything they can to get the boys ready,” Holloway said. “We’ve just had a rough trot.
“You look at Taniela’s injury … he’s done that acceleration probably a thousand times this year and for whatever reason, his Achilles decides to go. Rob Leota, same thing, running into contact, it goes as well. I’m not a physio or on the medical staff but there’s no science in my opinion behind it. We’re also losing a couple of guys to concussions.
“Our medical staff are putting in overs to get us right … to make sure we’re in the best physical condition. It’s hard because there is no definite answer. It does just seem unlucky.”