The Wallabies have called NSW winger Peter Betham into the 32-man tour squad after Tevita Kuridrani was suspended for five weeks.
The Wallabies have sent an SOS to NSW winger Peter Betham and must get creative in their midfield selection for their Test against Scotland after centre Tevita Kuridrani was slugged with a five-week ban.
In a serious blow to Australia, Kuridrani became the sixth player rubbed out of this weekend’s Murrayfield clash when he was suspended for his tip-tackle on Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony.
The Australian Rugby Union is weighing up whether to appeal the ban but they have already called for Betham as the in-form Brumby faces an almost certain finish to his end-of-season tour.
Kuridrani’s loss leaves a massive hole in the pivotal No.13 position, especially with veteran utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper also stood down from the match.
Ashley-Cooper, who started the first seven Tests of the year at outside centre before Kuridrani took over the role, was among five players already suspended for the Scotland clash due to their late night out before the 32-15 win in Dublin last week.
With fellow starting winger Nick Cummins also banned, coach Ewen McKenzie is set to promote Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia to his strife-torn three-quarter line.
Both would be expected to start on the wings while McKenzie, who names his team on Thursday, must make a tricky decision on who to choose at No.13.
Brumbies sharp-shooter Christian Leali’ifano, currently covering No.10 and 12 from the bench, would be the safest move but the coach could also gamble on moving freakishly talented Israel Folau from fullback, where’s he’s been a dangerous attacking weapon, or promoting Mike Harris.
Neither Leali’ifano, Harris nor Folau have played at outside centre in senior rugby – showing the need for McKenzie to be inventive at the selection table.
The coach had travelled to London with Kuridrani on Tuesday holding some hope of having him exonerated in a IRB disciplinary hearing as teammate Matt Toomua was also involved in the tackle.
But even with his previously unblemished record, judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar issued a five-week suspension.
His ban will expire on February 16, allowing him to play in the Brumbies’ Super Rugby opener against Queensland the following weekend.
Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill are the other Wallabies stood down from the Murrayfield clash, while prop Paddy Ryan will serve his one-Test ban in the final match on tour against Wales.