One week into the Vodacom Super 14 and the Australian teams are already feeling the heat when it comes to injuries.
The rubble Reds, rampant in their courage against rivals New South Wales, will be without captain John Roe, winger Tim Atkinson and reserve scrumhalf Nic Berry after all three were battered in the 16-12 defeat against the Waratahs.
The Reds face the Crusaders in round two and the prognosis is not good for them to record a first win for the season.
Even worse for the Australian Rugby Union is the injuries to Western Force backs Lachlan MacKay and Josh Graham. The latter is out for three weeks because of concussion, but MacKay’s absence for at least six matches is huge to the new franchise. Depth is not something Australian rugby has in abundance and the Force was the one Aus franchise that needed to keep its 15 best players on the field.
Australia’s Brumbies and Waratahs are in South Africa for the next few weeks, while the Force travel to New Zealand to play the Hurricanes.