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‘We’re disappointed’: Eddie Jones comments on Len Ikitau’s devastating injury

By Finn Morton
Australia's Len Ikitau (L) reacts after a successful try during the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and Australia at Commbank Stadium in Sydney on July 15, 2023. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

The Wallabies were dealt a cruel blow during their thrilling loss to Argentina with centre Len Ikitau leaving CommBank Stadium to undergo scans on a devasting injury.

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Ikitau scored the Wallabies’ opening try of the night in just the fifth minute, but he left the field shortly after with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

According to The Roar, a Wallabies spokesman has since revealed that Ikitau will miss Australia’s two Bledisloe Cup matches with New Zealand. The 24-year-old has reportedly fractured his scapula and will miss six to eight weeks.

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After receiving a clever pop pass from world-class midfielder Samu Kerevi, Ikitau didn’t hesitate as he tucked the ball under his left arm with the try line in sight.

But standing in the centre’s way was Los Pumas fullback Emiliano Boffelli.

Boffelli got down low and did everything he could to stop the Wallaby – simply, it was a textbook tackle attempt – but Ikitau wasn’t going to be denied.

Ikitau met the Argentine fullback with both fury and intent, and somehow managed to stay in the field of play. There was just a matter of millimetres in it.

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But after the jubilation of the score, and as the rugby war continued to rage on, Ikitau was clearly well below 100 per cent.

The 24-year-old wasn’t moving his right arm, and ended up leaving the field in the 17th minute with a grimace on his face.

Replacement Carter Gordon – who hasn’t played inside centre at Super Rugby Pacific level – ended up playing more than an hour at No. 12 as Samu Kerevi shifted out one position.

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During the match, this reporter was told that Ikitau would be leaving the stadium to receive scans.

“It also created an opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about ourselves,” coach Eddie Jones told reporters.

“It’s a great opportunity for Carter to play 12, and at some stage in his career, he’s going to play 12.

“We’re disappointed Lenny’s injured, he’ll have all the scans that need to be had but certainly didn’t look like a good sort of an injury but we’ll wait and see.”

The backline reshuffled proved somewhat problematic for the Wallabies, with Quade Cooper, Carter Gordon and Samu Kerevi struggling to develop some matchday chemistry between them.

Gordon made a couple of poor reads in defence, but for the most part, the rising star was a shining light for the Wallabies once again.

The Wallabies may have fallen to their second consecutive loss to start the year, but coach Jones is full of confidence ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks later this month.

“In the first two games we scored two super tries early in the game and we move the ball with fluency and quickly, which is how we want to play,” he added.

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“But we’re not able to sustain that at the moment. I could give you a fantastic, plausible reason but you’re not going to believe it so I’m not going to give it to you.

“Whilst it seems like it’s doom and gloom at the moment, it’s not.

“(There’s) a fair bit of optimism that we’ll be able to change fairly quickly in the next couple of weeks. If I was the All Blacks I’d look out.”

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Comments

2 Comments
W
Willie 367 days ago

Cannot understand why any coach employs a 2/6 bench.
Reduces options and takes pressure off forwards to roll up sleeves.

J
Jon 368 days ago

During the match, this reporter was told that Ikitau would be leaving the stadium to receive scans.
Leave the sensationalist headlines to following the match. Were after substance the day after. I can only assume you were waiting for an update but haven't received one?

It's a shame Eddie didn't have a better plan for this sort of thing. I would have liked to see Cooper shift out if there could have been a more experienced 10 on the bench. Theyve proven to fairly even teams over the years but that would have seen them through i reckon.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
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