Queensland’s miserable Super Rugby season has taken another turn for the worse with Quade Cooper set to miss the next two months with a fresh injury.
Cooper fractured his scapula making a tackle in the Reds’ 23-15 loss to the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night and will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.
The match was only Cooper’s second of the year having just returned from a pre-season collarbone fracture, with his latest setback to put an enormous dent in his Rugby World Cup dreams and to the Reds’ faint hopes of somehow qualifying for the Super Rugby finals.
No.8 Jake Schatz also ruptured a tendon in his elbow in Melbourne, putting him out of action for a month, after which the Reds say his injury will be “reviewed”.
Queensland head to South Africa on Sunday for a two-week tour and coach Richard Graham said he would take the next 24 hours to make a decision as to who would join the 27-man squad for the tour to replace Cooper and Schatz.
“After building on a good foundation from last week, it’s disappointing to lose the two boys ahead of an important tour,” Graham said.
“The playing group showed incredible resolve to play out 60 minutes of last night’s match with just 14 men and still be a shot at winning the match, so I have no doubt they’ll take a similar approach to this set back.
“I will have a meeting with the coaching staff today about what balance we need to achieve within the squad, but the benefit we do have is we have had a number of younger players gain further experience at Super Rugby level earlier this season.
“All we need to worry about is the things we can control and that is our attitude, preparation and performance.”