SYDNEY – Forward Adam Coleman makes his return for the Melbourne Rebels on Friday after being among four top players to pick up calf injuries during a pre-season Wallabies camp that reportedly left clubs seething.
Along with Coleman, David Pocock, Dane Haylett-Petty and Nick Phipps all returned to their Super Rugby teams with soft tissue problems, apparently incurred during intensive sprint sessions.
Pocock and Haylett-Petty managed to recover for round one of the southern hemisphere competition, but Coleman is only returning now and Phipps is still not fit.
The Sydney Morning Herald said tensions were simmering over the timing of Wallabies camps in a World Cup year and Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said a review would be conducted into how the injuries were sustained.
“We are all concerned about the injuries. That's certainly not the ideal place for anyone to start,” she told the Herald this week.
“Nobody was comfortable with the fact we had injuries and Rugby Australia is reviewing the reasons for those injuries.”
NSW Waratah's Phipps told Fox Sports on Wednesday evening the fitness component could have been handled better as players were pushed hard immediately after their off-season breaks, but he also defended the camp.
“It's been painted like a real death march or something. Yeah, I got injured but the rest of the camp was really positive,” he said.
“I know there is a lot of stuff out there saying how it was poorly run - it was quite well run. But I guess it is disappointing that a few of us pinged our calves. It's frustrating but injuries happen.”
Rebels coach Dave Wessels played down talk of tension between clubs and the Wallabies.
“The reality is we're in a contact sport so people get injured from time to time,” he told reporters.
“I think the Wallabies would be the first to admit that they can do things better in their environment as we would be in our environment.
“Did I have any formal dialogue that I was upset by the camp or whatever that's been suggested in the media? No I didn't do that,” he said.
“If I did I would just ring Michael myself, I wouldn't be talking about that in the media.”
Along with Coleman, Wessels also has fellow Wallaby Reece Hodge back for Friday's clash with the Highlanders after he recovered from a lower leg injury. Both players will start on the bench.
Meanwhile, the Brumbies have named Pocock in their starting side after the star flanker missed their 54-17 thrashing of the Waikato Chiefs last weekend after a concussion sustained in their opening match of the year against the Rebels.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)