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Reds prop’s long-term blow, D-Mac back with All Blacks XV, and have Titans caught the Rona?

Reds prop’s long-term blow, D-Mac back with All Blacks XV, and have Titans caught the Rona?

Queensland Reds prop Harry Hoopert is expected to miss the entire Super Rugby Pacific campaign next year after suffering ACL damage on duty with Australia A.

Hoopert was injured in the tourists’ 22-21 win over a Japan XV in Fukuoka on Saturday, and scans reveled extensive damage that will require surgery.

The injury is likely to keep Hoopert sidelined until June.

The Reds are headed to Japan next month for a trial match with Dane Zander and Sef Fa’agase as the loosehead options.

Meanwhile, the third match of the Australia A series will have no bearing on the make up of Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad to play five matches in Europe. The Wallabies are expected to name their squad of around 35 players on Wednesday.

That is the day after the Australia A team is named for the third game against Japan on Friday night and might provide some pointers to the Wallaby situation with every chance many of those required to meet up with the full squad won’t be risked in game three. Australia leads the series 2-0 after wins in Toyo and Fukuoka.

Harry Hoopert of the Reds is tackled during the round one Super Rugby AU match between the Queensland Reds and the New South Wales Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium, on February 19, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Harry Hoopert. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

It means the decision on which of Ben Donaldson and Tane Edmed is likely to get a flyhalf spot for the Spring Tour will already be known before Saturday’s match.

 Have Titans caught the Rona?

Former Wallaby Curtis Rona is reportedly set to return to the NRL after a five years in rugby union.

The Wide World of Sports website reports Rona, who was linked to a return to the Western Force next season, has gone AWOL from London Irish and is now a target of Gold Coast Titans.

Prior to playing for the Force and Waratahs, and winning three Wallabies caps in 2017, Rona played 57 NRL games with the Cowboys and Bulldogs. He joined London Irish in 2019.

In an interview last year he explained his thoughts on league and union.

“If someone asked straight up what do you prefer, union or league, I have always loved a good game of rugby union because when you get exciting, free-flowing rugby it is awesome to watch whereas league can be quite basic,” Rona told a Rugby Pass podcast.

“But coming up through the ranks, league gave me the opportunity to go through the rep teams.

Curtis Rona

Curtis Rona (Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

“For one reason or another, (union in) Australia is really schoolboy-orientated so if you go to a private school then you play rugby but at the time I didn’t go to a private school, so rugby wasn’t an option for me. That can be the downfall with Australian rugby. I got an opportunity to play league and really enjoyed it. Sometimes I get the odd day where I think about going back one day, but I’m happy where I am now and I’m enjoying my rugby.

“The hype behind it [NRL], everything about it, it’s really appealing to everyone and a lot more people these days in the UK are starting to watch rugby league. Even the boys in my team always talk about rugby league, what is going on in the NRL and stuff like that because there is just so much hype and emphasis on making it really entertaining and appealing for everyone to watch.

“I enjoyed my time at the Cowboys and the Bulldogs and was even at the Roosters playing for their juniors. I enjoyed my rugby league all in all and even got to represent the New Zealand Maoris in my actual last game of rugby league. We played against New Zealand Residents in New Zealand which was a proud moment to be able to represent my culture and heritage.”

All Blacks name strong B team for European games

Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara and skipper Patrick Tuipulotu bring plenty of Test experience to Leon MacDonald’s All Blacks XV touring squad to take on Ireland A and the Barbarians on a short European tour next month.

The All Blacks selection panel picked the team blending experience and emerging youngsters.

The squad includes several other Test standard players in Aidan Ross, Angus Ta’avao, Asafo Aumua, Luke Jacobson and Brad Weber.

McKenzie recently returned to new Zealand after a season in Japan but was overlooked for the full All Blacks tour with Stephen Perofeta preferred.

The All Blacks XV will play Ireland A at Dublin’s RDS Arena on November 4, followed by a clash against the Barbarians at Tottenham Stadium in London on November 13.

All Blacks XV squad

Forwards: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), George Bell (Canterbury), Brodie McAlister (Canty), Finlay Brewis (Canty), Oli Jager (Canty), Aidan Ross (Bay of Plenty), Angus Ta’avao (Auckland), Tamaiti Williams (Canty), Josh Dickson (Otago), Zach Gallagher (Canty), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland – captain), Dominic Gardiner (Canty), Billy Harmon (Canty), Luke Jacobson (Waikato), Christian Lio-Willie (Otago), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (Hawkes Bay). Backs: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Brad Weber (Hawke’s Bay), Cam Roigard (Counties Manukau), Bryn Gatland (North Harbour), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Levi Aumua (Tasman), Bryce Heem (Auckland), Alex Nankivell (Tasman), Bailyn Sullivan (Waikato), AJ Lam (Auckland), Ruben Love (Wellington), Mark Telea (North Harbour).