Karmichael Hunt ruled out of Bledisloe Cup
Last Updated: 24/07/17 10:48am
Karmichael Hunt has been ruled out of Australia's opening Bledisloe Cup Tests after undergoing ankle surgery.
Hunt, who played rugby league for Australia and had a stint in the Australian rules Australian Football League before converting to rugby union, made his Test debut for the Wallabies last month and was one of the best players in a June series against Fiji, Italy and Scotland.
Hunt was absent when the extended Wallabies squad gathered in Newcastle, north of Sydney, on Monday to build up for the Two tests against New Zealand in August. Coach Michael Cheika confirmed the 30-year-old utility back was expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
"He ended up having a small operation on a syndesmosis injury so he's got nothing doing for the first 10 days and then we'll start working on him and his fitness level so as soon as he's ready to go he's straight back in," Cheika said.
"Obviously he's very disappointed but there's nothing you can do about it."
Hunt's injury leaves the inside centre spot open, with recalled Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge expected to be the main contenders for the No.12 jersey on 19 August against the All Blacks.
Cheika has gathered a bumper 38-man squad for a punishing training camp in the New South Wales port city of Newcastle.The squad will be further reinforced by another eight or so Brumbies later this week in the wake of their 35-16 loss to the champion Wellington Hurricanes in Canberra on Friday.
The boot camp comes as a sense of crisis engulfs Australian rugby after the nation's five teams failed to beat a single New Zealand opponent in 26 matches this season.
Cheika told reporters in Newcastle on Monday the boot camp would also aim to make Wallabies hopefuls more mentally fit for the All Blacks challenge.
"The first couple of weeks of our preparation has to be able to get us to the physical and mental level where we believe we can go out there and win the game," he said.
"I know the way I like to coach and the game we need to play, we need to be at the best fitness level we can be.
"We're not going to acquire that all in a couple of weeks but at the end of the day ... we need to get them to turn the key inside of their minds to get them to the next level.
"Because the games we play against New Zealand will probably the most intense the guys have played in their careers."
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