Western Force captain Ben McCalman will miss Friday’s Super Rugby clash with the unbeaten Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
The Wallabies No.8 has been frustrated by a dislocated right thumb, the type of injury usually sustained in a motorbike crash, that has kept him out of the Force’s first three matches,
He is hopeful of playing against the Blues in the second game of the tour.
McCalman was back to full fitness after fracturing his right shoulder twice playing for the Wallabies last year, firstly in the 23-7 second-Test loss to England in June and then two months later in a 42-8 defeat by New Zealand.
“It’s been frustrating coming back from the shoulder injury and feeling 100 per cent and then doing the thumb. I’m hoping I’ve had my turn of injuries now,” he said.
“It’s been frustrating not being able to contribute, seeing the boys playing some decent rugby but not getting the results.
“We’re creating the opportunities but not taking the points and winning the close games.”
Centre Billy Meakes will have a late fitness test on his ankle, damaged in the loss to the Brumbies, but he is expected to join the squad.
Experienced flanker Matt Hodgson has recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first three games and will tour.
Coach Dave Wessels took all responsibility for the 25-17 loss in Canberra but McCalman said players had to shoulder blame.
“We felt confident going into the game, that we had the game plan to win,” he said.
“But it’s up to the players. The coaches are not out there chasing the ball or tackling or stopping mauls. It’s really down to the players to perform on the day.”
Meanwhile McCalman says SANZAAR needs to respect players, take them out of limbo and make a quick decision on the future of Super Rugby.
But he believes the Force is in for the long haul amid speculation about the possible axing of an Australian side.
Rumours have been circulating for eight months since SANZAAR commissioned an independent report on the competition.
McCalman said while the Force was focussed on the season ahead speculation was frustrating and a distraction for some players.
“Things change every day and that shows to me that they are very unclear about what they want, what they feel the best direction is for Super Rugby,” McCalman said.
“But we see our future as a long one here in WA.
“You try and not let it get to you but I’m sure some of the guys, especially the younger guys or players who are not signed for next year….. it’s in the back of their minds.
“They would be wondering what is going to happen.
“As soon as it’s cleared up we can move on and focus on moving forward.”