Tevita Kuridrani has joined Samu Kerevi on the sidelines and will also miss the Rugby Championship.
Tevita Kuridrani has joined Samu Kerevi on the sidelines and will also miss the Rugby Championship.

Wallabies centre crisis: Kuridrani out for three months

THE Wallabies' hopes of snapping a 16 year Bledisloe Cup drought have taken a massive hit with Brumbies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani to miss the entire Rugby Championship campaign.

Kuridrani tore his pectoral muscle in the Brumbies' stunning 40-31 win over the Waratahs in their final Super Rugby match of the season on Saturday.

The injury is expected to rule him out for three months and he will undergo surgery on Tuesday.

Kuridrani, a veteran of 58 Tests, was expected to regain the Wallabies' No 13 jersey after returning to his best form in recent weeks, including a star turn against the Tahs.

The injury is a big blow to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who is already without his first choice No 13 Samu Kerevi, who is also out for three months after undergoing surgery on a torn bicep earlier this month.

Waratahs centre Curtis Rona and Rebels utility Reece Hodge now appear locked in a head to head battle to start against the All Blacks in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney on August 18.

Rona, who has played three Tests, was in good form for the Waratahs this season before being outplayed by Kuridrani last weekend.

He offers an established partnership with Wallabies and Waratahs backline aces Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau.

Hodge, meanwhile, has been playing at five-eighth for the Rebels and was used sparingly off the bench by Cheika against Ireland in June.

But he does have Test experience in midfield and has never let the gold jersey down.

Rebels inside centre Billy Meakes is also likely to come into the squad.

The Wallabies' wider training squad will assemble in Sydney next week to begin Rugby Championship preparation.

Joining Kuridrani on the sidelines is Brumbies and former Test winger Henry Speight, who is expected to miss up to six weeks with a syndesmosis injury.