The Queensland Reds have copped yet another hit on their tour of South Africa with James O’Connor sidelined due to a calf injury.
As if they had not faced enough obstacles in their preparations for their clash with the Bulls in Johannesburg on Sunday morning (AEST), the Reds will now be without their chief goalkicker and arguably their most damaging attacking player.
It is the recurrence of a previous injury but O’Connor is expected to be available for selection for the second match of Queensland’s two-game tour, against the Cheetahs next weekend.
The Reds will name their team for the Bulls match later on Thursday and it’s expected O’Connor’s injury will see a minor reshuffle, with Lachie Turner to move to the wing and Karmichael Hunt to return to the starting side at fullback.
O’Connor was one of Queensland’s marquee off-season signings but injury has continually hampered his ability to settle into the team.
His latest setback comes after Quade Cooper’s fractured scapula, which will put the Wallabies fly-half out for the next eight weeks and is likely to force coach Richard Graham to turn to second-choice halfback Nick Frisby as a solution.
But in a rare sliver of good news for the Reds, Rob Simmons has overcome a shoulder nerve injury and will make his long-awaited return against the Bulls.