Injury grounds Vunivalu for France Test series

A hamstring injury has ruled former NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu out of the Wallabies squad for next month’s Test series against France.

Vunivalu limped off the field in Queensland’s 31-24 Super Rugby trans-Tasman loss to the Blues last weekend.

Australia coach Dave Rennie says the injury is significant enough to rule Vunivalu out of the July series.

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Vunivalu manhandles the Force

“Obviously a reasonably serious hamstring injury,” Rennie said.

“That’s going to see him miss the French series and we’ll know a little bit more detail beyond that but he certainly won’t be available for France.”

Rennie said he hoped the Fiji-born Vunivalu, who played five seasons and 111 matches with the Storm before switching to rugby, will have an opportunity to make his Test debut later in the international season.

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Vunivalu’s first Super Rugby try

“We’re really happy with his progress. The Reds have done a really good job with him.

“Disappointing for him but his job really is to rehab quickly and try and get back.

“We’ve got a lot of Tests and so there’s a lot of opportunity for him to still play for us.”

O’Connor’s wild winning play

Injured flyhalf James O’Connor is expected to be included when Rennie names a 38 man squad for the France series on Sunday.

The Queensland captain was a late scratch for the game against the Blues because of a neck injury and he hasn’t travelled to New Zealand for the Reds’ last Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

“He’s been getting stingers for about the last four or five weeks,” Rennie said.

“It just came to a bit of a head the previous game and so he missed last weekend, he’s going to miss this weekend but we anticipate him being right.

“He’s been outstanding, we’re really happy with guys like Noah Lolesio as well.

“It’s certainly a position where we’re getting better depth in but James has been excellent.”

Another Reds star, Jordan Petaia, is unlikely to feature against France as he continues to recover from a serious quad injury.

Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty (concussion) remains sidelined while Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon (knee) is also in doubt.

Brumbies prop James Slipper and Rebels utility Reece Hodge are expected to be available for a series that includes three Tests in 11 days — July 7 in Sydney, July 13 in Melbourne and July 17 in Brisbane.

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