Wallabies blow as young gun sent home
THE Wallabies' Survivor-style jungle training camp has claimed its first victim with young gun Jordan Petaia ordered to leave the squad in New Caledonia after injuring his hamstring.
The youngest player yet selected for the Wallabies at a World Cup, the 19-year-old Queenslander tweaked his hamstring while making a diving tackle at the squad's pre-World Cup camp in Noumea.
Team officials are confident the injury is not serious enough to rule him out of the World Cup, starting in just over three weeks, but aren't taking any chances so have sent him home for scans.
As a precaution, he has already been ruled out of next weekend's Test against Samoa at Bankwest Stadium, where he was expected to make his Wallaby debut as the only member of the 31-man squad yet to earn a cap.
It's just the latest rotten luck for the exciting teenager who has only just returned from a foot injury that saw him miss most of this year's Super Rugby season.
He was picked to make his Test debut against Italy on last year's end of season tour to the Northern Hemisphere but had to withdraw at the last minute after getting a tiny tear in his hamstring.
Winger Marika Koroibete has just arrived at the camp after delaying his trip to the South Pacific archipelago for family reasons while halfback Nick Phipps and prop Harry Johnson-Holmes will join the squad as train-on members after leading Sydney University to victory in the Shute Shield grand final.
Despite being in an island paradise, it's been anything but that for the players with head coach Michael Cheika waking them up at dawn each morning to put them through their paces in the same humid conditions they will face at the World Cup in Japan.
"Definitely had a few hard camps but it's definitely right up there in terms of the intensity, the times we're getting up in the morning and by the time we're getting into bed, it's a lot of hours that we're putting into this and a lot of effort," said backrower Jack Dempsey.
"The difference is this time we're working towards a World Cup and that's something that gives you that little bit of a boost when you're out on the field and you're sucking in the big ones."
The Wallabies will return home next Thursday before playing Samoa in Parramatta on September 7 then flying out to Japan the next day. Australia's first pool match is against Fiji in Sapporo on September 21.