The Melbourne Rebels will be without captain Dane Haylett-Petty for their opening match of the season as he continues to work his way back from a concussion sustained while playing for the Wallabies last year.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the 38-test fullback doesn’t know when he will next play due to a head knock he picked up during Australia’s 43-5 Bledisloe Cup defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney last October.
Haylett-Petty described the injury as “relatively innocuous”, but he wasn’t cleared to play for the Wallabies for the remainder of the year.
His sideline stint will continue through into this year, with the 31-year-old set to miss the Rebels’ Super Rugby AU season-opener against the Reds in Brisbane in a fortnight.
“It lingered, which I’d never experienced before,” Haylett-Petty told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“One of the weeks I tried to ramp up the contact again but got headaches, so it was a couple of weeks of headaches and concussion symptoms.
“Then we decided to pull back. I was just struggling with the contact stuff. Every time I did contact, the symptoms came on again. We decided to call it a year and have the last couple of weeks off. Then things improved over the time off.”
Despite the Rebels medical staff and “three of the best doctors in Australia” suggesting there are no major long-term issues, but the uncertainty of there being no confirmed return date has been a cause of concern for Haylett-Petty.
“At the moment we’re trialling a few different things. We’ve reduced my load, so that’s why I’ll definitely miss the start of the season.
“The tough thing with it is you just can’t exactly put a return date on it at this point. I suppose the advice was if I want to keep playing then it’s best to get on top of it now.
“The specialist basically said I will be fine, but he can’t tell me how long it’s going to take. It’s very person to person. He said people are fine a couple of weeks later and some guys take a lot longer.
“The worst thing is not having a timeline. Every other injury I have had I have worked to a timeline and a plan. The rest of the news has been pretty positive.”
Nevertheless, Haylett-Petty remained optimistic about his chances of playing for the Wallabies at second World Cup in 2023.
“I told them I’d love to play three or four more years, play through to the next World Cup and their advice was it’s a long year of rugby … so the best thing is to pull back now, get on top of it and build from there,” he said.
“Obviously desperate to get back for the Rebels and we’ve got a big year ahead, but it’s not worth my health and pushing through.”
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