‘Hair-dressing’ job a must for Wallaby
RUGBY: Australian and Queensland Reds centre Anthony Fainga'a's shoulder reconstruction has left his twin brother Saia needing to rely on someone else to braid his hair before a Test.
But Anthony is determined to make his absence from the twins pre-match ritual a temporary one - he wants the job back next year, as well as a famous gold jersey.
The 23-Test representative has not pulled one over his broad shoulders since running out against the Springboks in Pretoria almost a year ago.
The hard-hitting Anthony, the younger of the twins by five minutes, was in line to add to his Test-cap haul after being named in the 40-man Rugby Championship squad by his former Queensland, and now Wallabies coach, Ewen McKenzie.
But the shoulder injury, which he carried through most of the Super Rugby season, ended those hopes - he had surgery and has been ruled out of the rest of the international season.
Although he is disappointed to be on the sidelines, Anthony said he played every Test so far this season - through Saia.
"It's a twin thing," he laughed. "I live through every tackle and every minute of every game he plays. He's playing for both of us."
With Anthony ruled out for another five months, he will miss the Wallabies' season-ending northern hemisphere tour, one he said Saia should hopefully be on.
"We take it in turns to go on that tour," he said with a laugh.
"I toured last year while Saia was injured and now, hopefully, he'll get to go and I will be the one left behind.
"We can't buy a trick."
On a positive note, Anthony said he was confident he would be fit and raring to go for the Reds for the start of the 2014 Super Rugby season.
"Injuries haven't been kind to me for a few seasons. Last year I struggled with a hamstring, a foot injury, and this shoulder - this break and recovery will be great for my body," he said.
If all goes to plan, Anthony should be back in contention for international duty next season, and said he couldn't wait to get back in the gold jersey.
"I can tell you that it is the most rewarding feeling running out on to a ground for a Test match wearing one (a Wallaby jersey)," he said.
"Nothing beats it, and especially as I get to do it with my brother."
Meanwhile, the Australian Rugby Union is investigating an incident in which Wallabies winger James O'Connor was not allowed to board a plane to Bali and had to be removed from Perth airport on Sunday morning, just hours after the Wallabies beat Argentina 14-13 in the Rugby Championship clash in the city.
Australian Federal Police allege O'Connor was intoxicated and not allowed to board the flight.
It is believed O'Connor has denied being drunk, but admitted to having an argument over the seating arrangements for him and his girlfriend.