Australia star Kurtley Beale is a major doubt for the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand next month.
The Melbourne Rebels fullback sustained a heavy blow to the torso against Queensland Reds in the outfit’s final home Super Rugby clash of the season.
It has now been discovered that Beale fractured a rib and he will no longer travel to South Africa to face the Lions and Stormers and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
"Kurtley sustained a chest injury in the Wallabies test against Wales in Sydney which appeared to settle quickly.
“However, on Friday night it was exacerbated in our match against the Reds. Further investigations revealed a rib fracture, which will take 4-6 weeks to heal and rule him out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season," said Rebels coach Damien Hill.
The Wallabies kick-off the new four-nation tournament against the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium, in six week’s time, leaving Beale in a race against time.
The scintillating strike-runner, who should face the Lions next year, had only just returned from shoulder surgery