White misses the France series after injuring his knee in training



Wallabies half-back Nic White is out of next month’s Test series against France, while fellow veterans Matt Toomua and James O’Connor are also battling injuries and potentially robbing the side of nearly 150 Test caps.

White has returned home to Canberra after suffering an MCL injury during training during their Gold Coast camp, and Toomua is already there with his injury controlled by Rugby Australia’s medical chief, Warren McDonald.

Toomua is expected to join the team on Sunday with the Wallabies hoping the playmaker will be available for the first Test on July 7th.

O’Connor, who has carried the injury from Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, is being led through training, but the fifth-eighth is expected to play.

With White out, Queensland’s Tate McDermott is now ready for his first Test start after two games off the bench, while Brumbies’ No. 9 Ryan Lonergan is likely to make his debut.

Waratahs halfback Jake Gordon is in camp but is also recovering from an MCL injury and remains an outside chance to be available.

White does not require surgery and medical staff hope he will be in the frame for the Bledisloe Cup with the first match on August 7 in Auckland.

It comes as Rugby Australia goes ahead with plans to play the opening match of the three Test series against France at SCG despite the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

The 42-man French group arrived in Sydney on Tuesday night and underwent COVID-19 tests on Wednesday.

Les Bleus will be quarantined at their hotel for the next two weeks, although they will be allowed to train ahead of the July 7 test at SCG.

The teams play a condensed series of three 11-day tests, the second at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on July 13, followed by the third at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on July 17.

The second test appeared to be highly questionable, with Melbourne locked in for two weeks following an increase in COVID-19 cases, but it has eased as crowds are welcome to sporting events this weekend.

There were questions as to whether this game would be moved to Canberra, which could now be a possibility for the Sydney match if the pandemic continues to worsen in the eastern belt.

Queensland and Victoria have closed their borders to NSW residents from hotspot areas in the eastern suburbs and central Sydney.

RA CEO Andy Marinos said they remained hopeful the matches would be played as planned.

“We understand that we will continue to operate in a dynamic environment with COVID-19 impacts, and we are moving forward with our plans to host these matches as planned, subject to further
advice from our state government partners, ”Marinos said in a statement.

“We are now only two weeks away from the start of the series, starting with the Wallabies’ first match at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground in 35 years.

I would like to thank (President) Bernard Laporte, (Coach) Fabian Gautier and the FFR (French Rugby Federation) for their partnership in ensuring that this series can continue.

“It’s been a huge effort by everyone involved.”

© AAP

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