Rugby Championship
Wallabies' hooker and winger curse continues
ESPN Staff
September 14, 2014
Tatafu Polota-Nau's 50th Test appearance was a sweet and sour experience © Getty Images

Luckless Wallabies front-rower Tatafu Polota-Nau is set to miss the rest of the season and may require ankle surgery after Australia's painful hooker crisis continued this weekend.

Scans have shown Polota-Nau suffered a syndesmosis injury in the first half of Saturday night's 32-25 win over Argentina on the Gold Coast and is looking at two months on the sidelines. It's a major blow for both Australia and the injury-plagued NSW rake who was making his return from a knee ligament tear in his 50th Test match.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, who is also missing Stephen Moore and Nathan Charles for the rest of 2014, will again be forced to rely on fourth-string hooker James Hanson for Saturday week's clash with South Africa in Cape Town. McKenzie will take three hookers on the two-Test tour of South Africa and Argentina and hopes to have Waratahs reserve Tolu Latu back from a broken arm to vie for a place with Saia Fainga'a and Josh Mann-Rae.

In a double blow from the nerve-wracking win over the Pumas, winger Peter Betham is also in serious doubt for November's European tour after re-injuring his broken foot. Scans have detected a fracture but it's unclear how bad the damage is to Betham, who scored his first Test try in the 60th minute at Cbus Super Stadium for a 29-13 lead.

He joins Henry Speight (hamstring) on the sidelines but utility Adam Ashley-Cooper is expected back from a neck problem to play the Springboks while Joe Tomane (hamstring) is also now fit again. Australia's depth in their wing stocks have been tested almost as much as hooker, with Pat McCabe (retired), Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder), Nick Cummins (Japan), James O'Connor (France) also missing.

"The winger-hooker curse continues," McKenzie said. "We get them back and then they disappear again."

Australia 32-25 Argentina (Australia only)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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