Rugby: Wallabies have wing crisis

Dom Shipperley is the latest to be added to the Wallabies' long list of unavailable wingers. Photo / Getty Images
Dom Shipperley is the latest to be added to the Wallabies' long list of unavailable wingers. Photo / Getty Images

The Wallabies injury curse has developed into a full-blown wing crisis heading into next month's European tour with eight Test flyers currently sidelined.

Rookie Dom Shipperley is the latest to be added to the long list of unavailable wingers after undergoing scans for a lingering wrist injury, which ruled him out of Saturday night's clash with New Zealand.

The Wallabies are sweating on the results as they are currently struggling to find enough fit finishers for the four-Test end-of-season tour, starting against France in Paris on November 10.

Shipperley's injury follows fellow Queensland winger Digby Ioane's scratching from the third Bledisloe Test at Suncorp Stadium with a knee injury.

Game-breaker Ioane is Australia's most potent ball-runner and his loss is a serious blow for a depleted Wallabies team hoping to spring a major upset to end the All Blacks' 16-match winning streak.

Only the welcome returns of utility Adam Ashley-Cooper (head knock) and Drew Mitchell (ankle) from injury ensured coach Robbie Deans had enough wing cover for this week along with new call-up Nick Cummins, who will play on the left flank despite nursing a cork.

James O'Connor, Joe Tomane, Lachie Turner, Cooper Vuna, Rod Davies and Luke Morahan - all wingers with Test experience in the past two seasons - are currently sidelined through injury.

"We're not exactly overendowed for wingers at the minute so the timing of Drew coming back is good," said Deans, who had been resigned to losing Mitchell for the year after he's been scheduled for ankle surgery.

"It's a good story (for Mitchell) because he's had a lot of bad luck.

"He thought he could have been facing a career-ending situation."

Deans remains hopeful both Ioane and Shipperley can play on the European tour but neither are certainties.

Highlighting the lack of alternatives, Wallabies medics will contemplate deferring potential surgery for Shipperley if he can play on in November.

"The results will determine on where too from here," Deans said.

"Those decisions will be made when we've got more information."

The Wallabies' bewildering injury woes - robbing them of almost half of their best team - also worsened on Tuesday with reserve hooker Saia Faingaa added to their long list after he broke his hand at training.

Uncapped Queensland teammate James Hanson replaces Faingaa on the bench.

-AAP



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