David Pocock’s horror injury run has continued, with the star Wallabies flanker to miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after breaking his hand.
Pocock will undergo surgery in Perth after suffering the injury in Saturday night’s 36-20 win over Argentina at nib Stadium.
The 28-year-old has undergone two knee reconstructions in recent years and he also fractured his eye socket against England three months ago.
Pocock remains an integral part of the Wallabies’ set-up, and his absence will leave a big hole to fill in upcoming games against South Africa and Argentina.
His latest injury could open the door for Melbourne Rebels star Lopeti Timani to make his way into the starting line-up.
Timani, a 124kg powerhouse who can also play at lock, made his Test debut off the bench against Argentina.
The 25-year-old only got 13 minutes of action, but coach Michael Cheika was pleased with what he saw.
Although the All Blacks have already secured this year’s Rugby Championship title, the race for second spot is still wide open.
The Wallabies (nine points) are in second spot following two straight wins.
But with away assignments against South Africa (six points) and Argentina (five) to come, they face a major battle to stay there.
Australia were blistering early against Argentina, racing out to a 21-0 lead inside 12 minutes.
Scrumhalf Will Genia was named man of the match following his two-try display, while flyhalf Quade Cooper was also influential with a series of defence-busting passes.
However, the stats told a different tale, with Australia finishing with 28 per cent of the possession, as well as being on the wrong side of a lop-sided 16-7 penalty count.
But with the Wallabies defiant in defence and clinical in attack, they made the win look easy.
Cheika said he would review the game to determine why the penalty count was so skewed.
“It’s always a fine line that ruck,” Cheika said.
“You want to compete for the ball, but you want to stay on the right side of the law.
“Like we always do, we’ll have a look to see if there’s any trends there we need to tidy up.”
South Africa were thrashed 41-13 by the All Blacks in Christchurch on Saturday, leaving them with just one win from four matches.
But Cheika is expecting a huge challenge when his side travel to Pretoria to confront the Springboks on October 2, before fronting up against Argentina in London a week later.
“We have to work out a really good plan against the South Africans,” Cheika said.
“It will be a cauldron in Pretoria.
“I’ve been really pleased with the lads. Even under fire we’ve been very solid. There’s a good feeling in the camp.”