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Wallaby centre in hospital after suffering neck injury

NEWS: Wallaby centre Lalakai Foketi has undergone scans after being taken to hospital in an ambulance with a neck injury sustained during a Waratahs training session.

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Foketi was treated for more than half an hour by medics after an apparently innocuous incident during a session on Thursday at the Waratahs’ Daceyville base in Sydney.

Coach Darren Coleman initially reported the 29-year-old had movement in his fingers before the franchise released a statement.

“Foketi was taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick by ambulance following the incident which occurred during the field session this [Thursday] morning,” the team said.

“The team is awaiting the results from the scans and Foketi’s family are with him in hospital. Representatives have been on hand to provide support throughout the day.

“The Waratahs would like to thank the amazing staff at the Prince of Wales Hospital and will provide further updates on Foketi as they come to hand.”

The injury comes just two days before the Waratahs’ season-opening Super Rugby clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

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Foketi, a member of Australia’s World Cup squad last year and the scorer of the Wallabies’ try of the season in 2022, had been named to start at inside centre in a star-studded midfield with Izaia Perese.

Coleman will almost certainly need to find a replacement and may consider promoting teenage sensation Max Jorgensen from the bench into the starting XV.

Jorgensen only made his comeback from a fractured fibula in a trial last Saturday against a combined Manly and Warringah outfit.

The 19-year-old survived 40 minutes unscathed after being forced home early from the World Cup in France without featuring in any of Australia’s games.

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Should Coleman go that way, Jorgensen would likely start at fullback and Joey Walton be shifted to the centres.

Otherwise, Mosese Tupulotu, the brother of Scotland midfielder Sione, may come into the centres to team with Perese, allowing Jorgensen to be eased back into the fold as the Waratahs had hoped.

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