Career of Australia's oldest Super Rugby player appears to be over
UPDATE: The career of Australia’s oldest Super Rugby player appears to be over after Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea suffered a serious knee injury.
Mann-Rea left the field during the Brumbies’ 19-17 win over Stormers at the weekend with the 38-year-old suspected to have torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
The injury typically requires nine months of rehabilitation.
The two-Test Wallaby is off-contract at the end of the season.
Mann-Rae joined former Brumbies George Smith and Radike Samo, earlier this season, as the only Australians to play Super Rugby past the age of 38.
He was a later bloomer who made his Super Rugby debut at the NSW Waratahs as a 32-year-old in 2012, and has been at the Brumbies for the past seven seasons.
Despite being largely used as reserve throughout his career, Mann-Rea made his international debut against South Africa in 2014, but only played one more Test.
Back-up hooker Connal McInerney has flown to Argentina to join the Brumbies for their clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says injured Wallabies ace David Pocock is missing the trip to Argentina as a precautionary measure to get him healthy for his team’s final six Super Rugby regular season games.
Pocock has played just 138 minutes in three games through 10 rounds this season due to a concussion and a lingering calf injury he suffered at a Wallabies camp in January.
The 30-year-old flank has played more Tests (22) than Super Rugby matches (20) in the past two years and will miss his sixth-straight for the Brumbies when they face the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
He’s returning home from South Africa without playing on the two-match tour to the Republic and Argentina.
McKellar said Pocock hadn’t aggravated his calf while training on tour and was hopeful he’ll return against the Blues in Canberra on May 4.
“He has gone home to get more training load into his calf before we expose him to a game,” McKellar told AAP.
“There has been no incident [on tour], it is just the best way to approach it so we get him right.”
The (4-5) Brumbies upset the Stormers with an epic 19-17 win in Cape Town on the weekend and are now third in the Australian conference.
They’re 11th overall and will be desperate for Pocock’s return as they likely need to win four of their seven remaining games to make the top-eight finals.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika came under fire over the controversial fitness camp in January after Pocock, NSW Waratahs halfback Nick Phipps and Melbourne Rebels duo Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty all suffered soft tissue injuries.
Cheika will be monitoring Pocock’s recovery closely in the lead up to the World Cup in Japan later this year.