The Wallabies’ nightmarish injury curse struck again as hooker Folau Fainga’a became the latest star to enter the emergency ward.
Fainga’a will miss the second Test against Argentina with a concussion and his absence puts Lachlan Lonergan in the starting line-up and gives potential debutant Billy Pollard a place on the bench.
Over 50 live and on-demand sports with Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
The 27-year-old suffered a blow to the head during a training session on Thursday before failing a concussion test on Friday morning, ruling him out of the clash.
He now joins Dave Porecki, Michael Hooper, Quade Cooper, Hunter Paisami and Allan Ala’alatoa as the other Wallabies who returned home due to injury or personal reasons.
With Fainga’a ruled out, Lonergan, who has just six Tests to his name, will get his first start for the Wallabies after making his debut in 2021.
‘It sucked’: Wallabies star opens up about his ‘brutal’ divorce from Perry
The Wallaby who chose gold over silver – but how long can RA rely on that?
O’Connor’s moment of truth as Rennie nominates veteran Wallaby at 10 for TRC crunch test
Pollard, who has just eight Super Rugby games to his name for the ACT Brumbies, only joined the team last week as injury cover for starting hooker Porecki.
Wallabies skipper James Slipper has backed the duo to deliver on the park and hopes the “enthusiasm” they bring will prove contagious with the team.
“I have a lot of faith in both of them,” Slipper told reporters on Friday.
“Lonners has played very well this year and this is another good opportunity for him.
“It’s his first start for the Wallabies, and one thing you know about ‘Noss’ is that he looks very calm, but when he’s there he goes full throttle. I am really excited to see how he is doing.
“Billy obviously arrived late. He’s been using my Scrum boots all week, so I’m not even sure he has his own boots.
“He’s a talented young man who is really excited and you can tell how excited he is. What you get from youth is that enthusiasm and I think both will bring heaps.