Plenty to chew over for Wallabies coach
WALLABIES coach Ewen McKenzie is weighing a raft of changes for the Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Perth on September 6 after the embarrassing 51-20 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland.
The main concern is winger Pat McCabe whose playing career looked to be in the balance following his third neck injury suffered in the record loss at Eden Park.
Playing in just his second Test since returning from a serious neck problem, McCabe left the field in a neck brace. Scans in Auckland on Saturday night suggested he had suffered a recurrence of his C1 neck problem, which has the potential to end his career.
The likely option would be to shift Adam Ashley-Cooper to McCabe's wing and promote 102kg Fiji-born Brumby Tevita Kuridrani to inside centre.
McCabe (pictured) is not McKenzie's only injury concern - the cupboard is now bare of hookers with third string Nathan Charles suffering either a pectoral injury or rib damage which would also rule him out of the South African Test.
The All Blacks, who inflicted six tries on the hapless Wallabies, did not escape without damage with centre Ryan Cotty, brought into the line-up to replace the injured Ma'a Nonu, expected to miss four weeks with a fractured jaw.
Nonu is expected to recover from his shoulder injury in time for the All Blacks' next game against Argentina in Napier in a fortnight.
SCORES: ALL BLACKS 51 (Pen try, J Savea, K Read, R McCaw 2, S Luatua tries; A Cruden 5 cons, 3 pens; A Smith con) WALLABIES 20 (I Folau, M Hooper tries; K Beale 2 cons, 2 pens) Crowd: 48,211 at Eden Park on Saturday night
SOUTH AFRICA 33 (B Habana, C Hendricks, M Coetzee tries; H Pollard con, 3 pens; M Steyne 2 cons, pen) ARGENTINA 31 (M Montero, T Cubelli, J Tuculet tries; N Sanchez 2 cons, 2 pens; M Bosch pen; J Hernandez field goal) in Salta on Saturday night