RUGBY: Wallabies back-rower Ben McCalman has suffered a cruel blow after being ruled out of the third Test against England in Sydney this Saturday night.
McCalman, who came off the bench in Australia’s 23-7 loss in the second Test last weekend, fractured his shoulder blade in his first involvement of the game, according to coach Michael Cheika.
The Western Force representative played out the rest of the match with no replacement on the bench.
Cheika said he was disappointed McCalman, who is expected to miss six weeks, did not have another chance to push his starting credentials.
“He’s proven for us over the time I’ve been involved that he’s a serious campaigner,” Cheika said.
“He would’ve been a chance (to start this week).”
New Queensland Reds signing Leroy Houston will join the squad in Sydney to replace McCalman.
That won’t be the only line-up change for the Wallabies, who lost the three-Test series in Melbourne last Saturday night, as well as their No.2 world ranking to the visitors.
“I thought I might make a couple of changes each game just to have a look at guys who have shown either through Super Rugby or through the series they are vying for spots,” Cheika said.
The Wallabies have continually said the third Test was not a dead rubber after England’s upset victories in the first two matches of their tour.
The visitors hold a similar firm belief.
England, strengthened in knowledge after a visit from rugby league legend Andrew Johns at the request of coach Eddie Jones, are treating the final Test like a World Cup final.
“To win a World Cup, you’ve got to win three big games in a row, don’t you?” Jones said.
“You’ve got the quarter-final, semi-final and final, so it’s a great dress rehearsal for us.”
Jones mentioned the 2013 British and Irish Lions series, where the visitors won the series-deciding final Test, as an example of the importance of attitude in any Test match.
“You go back to the third Test against the Lions in 2013. The attitude from the two teams from the kick-off was pretty evident, wasn’t it?” he said.
“First kick-off gets dropped. Next phase the Lions get the ball, smash over in three phases and score the try.
“That very moment if you put a barometer of where the teams’ attitudes were it was fairly clear one team was on the ball and the other team was off the ball.”
For England, back-rower James Haskell (foot) is under an injury cloud, and winger Jack Nowell is working his way through the concussion protocols.
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