Waugh faces lengthy lay-off




Waratahs captain Phil Waugh will see a surgeon in Sydney on Tuesday to determine the extent of an ankle injury that could rule him out of the rest Super 14 series.

Waugh was helped from the field in the first minute of the Waratahs 30-26 loss to the Cheetahs in South Africa on Saturday, after suffering ankle ligament damage.

A statement from the Waratahs on Sunday said that if surgery is required Waugh could be sidelined for anything from three to six months.

Waugh and the rest of the Waratahs touring squad leaves Johannesburg late on Monday and will touch down in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon (AEDT).

Waugh remained hopeful of some good news upon his return home.

Scans conducted immediately after the match confirmed that Waugh suffered ligament damage, but the full extent of the injury won’t be known until he returns home.

“I got up and tried to run and it felt like the ankle gave away a little bit,” said Waugh.

“It certainly wasn’t good but we’ll just have to wait to see how it comes up over the next few days.”

Waratahs fullback Sam Norton-Knight said the loss of their captain at the start of the match was a huge blow, but said replacement Tim Davidson put in a more than capable performance and that the team was well drilled for injuries to key players.

“The sum of our parts is more important than any individual,” Norton-Knight said in a post-match interview.

“But it certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to start the match.”

The Waratahs seemed to be shell-shocked in the stifling heat of Kimberley, leaking three tries in the first 18 minutes to trail 19-3. But a concerted effort in defence and some attacking flair from teenage sensation Kurtley Beale saw them trim the score back to 22-20 early in the second half.

However, another try to the Cheetahs midway through the second stanza handed back the momentum back to the home team and the South Africans were able to hold on for a hard-fought victory.

“It was a big lead and we tried to run it down but just couldn’t get there in the end,” said Norton-Knight.

“We obviously have some things to work on and we look at those when we get back home.”

The loss leaves the Waratahs with just five points from one win and two losses from their opening three matches in this year’s Super 14, which have all been played in South Africa.

“We were hoping for two or three wins but it is still possible to make it back from here,” said Norton-Knight. “We have quiet a few home games coming up with only two games in NZ and one down in Canberra against the Brumbies as our away games for the rest of the season.”

365 Digital

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