Will Harrison’s worst fears have been realised, with the gun goal-kicker to spend up to 12 months on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old utility back, who was included in the Wallabies’ squad in his debut season in 2020, will need a knee reconstruction.
Harrison injured his knee during a covering tackle against the Chiefs on Friday night.
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Scans on Monday revealed the talented playmaker, who wore the No.15 during his side’s 51-27 loss to the NZ side, has injured his ACL, MCL and his patella.
Harrison, who is the best goal-kicker in the country by a mile, will see a specialist on Tuesday but won’t go under the knife for at least a month as he waits for his MCL to repair in the interim.
“He’s obviously gutted,” NSW coach Darren Coleman told foxsports.com.au.
“But he’s got his head around the rehab and he’ll try to get back for the start of next year.”
His injury will once again force Coleman into a reshuffle, with Alex Newsome likely to shift to fullback while James Ramm will come into the reckoning after his success return via club rugby last weekend.
Ben Donaldson, who was included in Dave Rennie’s Wallabies training squad in April, is another option should Coleman wish to stick with incumbent Tane Edmed.
Randwick duo Harrison and Donaldson have had their burgeoning careers slowed by numerous injuries, with the latter returning via the bench following a calf-injury.
Meanwhile, the Waratahs will find out on Monday night Angus Bell’s fate.
The Wallabies loose-head prop was red carded in the second minute for a tip-tackle on All Blacks captain Sam Cane.
Should the SANZAAR judicial panel deem him guilty, the entry point is a six-week ban that would likely be reduced to three weeks because of Bell’s record.
It is likely the Waratahs would challenge the ruling should he be suspended and focus on All Blacks prop Angus Ta’avao, who contributed to Cane dramatically tipping on his head, by propelling his teammate forward as he attempted to latch onto the ball-carrier.
Bell is arguably the Waratahs’ most important player given their light tight-five forward pack and the loss of the Wallaby would be a crushing blow ahead of crucial matches, including against the Crusaders on Saturday night.