Rugby

Michael Hooper, the last casualty before the Wales Test : PlanetRugby

Flanker Michael Hooper will miss Australia’s final Autumn Nations Series clash against Wales after showing concussion symptoms after the game with Ireland.

The defender becomes the seventh Australian player to be forced to return home after that match in Dublin.

Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini and Nic White had already been ruled out before Hooper suffered a head injury.

down to the bare bones

It leaves the Wallabies with just 25 players for this weekend’s match at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, while no spare backs are available.

Australia have endured a miserable season and go into the final game of the year with just one win on their Northern Hemisphere tour so far.

The grueling five-game series started off well with a narrow win over Scotland, but they have since suffered heavy defeats to France, Italy and Ireland.

They were long in all of those contests, but they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

Dave Rennie’s men are desperate to end a difficult season with a win, especially as they look to take the pressure off the head coach.

Rennie entered the tour with just a 38 per cent winning rate as the Wallabies boss and that has only declined since.

However, the game with Wales offers some chance of redemption, as Wayne Pivac’s men struggle even more than their Australian counterparts.

The Welsh lost to Georgia last weekend in one of the sport’s biggest upsets and have slipped to ninth in the world rankings.

Jordan Petaia is one of those who will be part of Australia’s squad for Saturday’s clash in Cardiff.

Own injury issues

Petaia has endured a time of injury problems but the 22-year-old, for possibly the first time in his career, managed to string together a succession of games together in 2022.

“Probably a bit of a roller coaster,” said the versatile running back.

“A bit like Jed, it’s probably the longest stretch of football I’ve had this year in terms of health, so it’s positive to look at it from that perspective.

“There have been a lot of learnings, he probably spent a lot of time rehabbing as well, but it’s good to have a little more football this year.

“If you’re online all the time, it can be exhausting, so making sure you take the time to unplug is good for the final stages of the tour.”

READ MORE: Wallabies desperate to end year-end tour on a high against Wales

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