They are calling it the ‘curse of the captaincy’ in Australia as Wallabies coach Robbie Deans faces up to life without yet another skipper.
Having seen regular captain James Horwill ruled out for the rest of the season from June with a hamstring tear, and then his replacement David Pocock wreck his knee against Wales, Deans lost Will Genia for six months or more during last weekend’s win over the Springboks.
"I don't think we'll have a formal leader any more – every person we've given the title to has broken down,” said Deans.
“We might just have someone lead the group out the tunnel and have a meeting with a few good men on a Monday morning to discuss the week.”
The flip side of this injury jinx is that at least a number of the Wallabies’ key players will be fighting fit and raring to go by the time Warren Gatland takes his British & Irish Lions team to Australia next summer. The Qantas Wallabies face Argentina in Round 4 of The Rugby Championship at the Gold Coast Stadium on Saturday without a host of big names but that shouldn’t be the case by the time Britain and Ireland’s elite head Down Under next summer.
Injuries are part and parcel of sport and the Lions have also endured their fair share of difficulties down the years. We thought we we’d come up with a few stories of some of the unluckiest Lions of them all:
1980 Lions: Nine players were ruled out of the tour, including Mike Slemen who went home due to a family illness. They lost Rodney O'Donnell (neck), David Richards (shoulder), Gareth Davies (shoulder and knee), Terry Holmes (shoulder and knee), Stuart Lane (knee), Phil Blakeway (ribs), Colin Patterson (knee) and Fran Cotton (suspected heart defect).
Stuart Lane: The Cardiff openside lasted 55 seconds of the opening game of the 1980 tour to South Africa against Eastern Province before rupturing his knee ligaments. He didn’t play again on tour.
Simon Taylor: After a try scoring debut for the Lions in their 116-10 triumph over Western Australia in Perth on the 2001 tour, the Scottish No8 suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of rest of the games. To make matters worse, he injured his hamstring in New Zealand in 2005 and didn’t play in a single game.
Terry Holmes: Went on two tours and got sent home from both. Managed four games in South Africa in 1980 before injuring his shoulder and knee and then four more in New Zealand in 1983 before another knee injury ended his second tour in the first Test.
Tom Holliday: The Aspatria and England full back/centre dislocated his shoulder against Western Provice Town and Country in the opening game of the 1924 Lions tour in Cape Town and never played again on tour.
Wilf Gaisford: Injured his knee in the first training session after the 1924 Lions arrived in South Africa and never played in a match.
Niall Brophy: The Irish centre lasted three minutes of the second game of the 1959 tour to Australia and New Zealand, breaking his ankle in the defeat to New South Wales. He didn’t play again on tour.
Paul Dean: The Irish outside-half survived 27 minutes of the 44-0 win over Western Australia in Perth in the first game of the 1989 Lions tour to Australia. His knee injury forced him out of the tour.
Phil Greening: Was watching a Lions training session in Perth before the opening game of the 2001 tour to Australia when he was bowled over by two team mates in a defensive drill. He was resting a sore neck, but ended up with a knee injury that ruled him out of the tour without playing a game.
Sam Hodgson: The Durham City and England hooker broke his leg after scoring on his Lions debut in the opening game of the 1962 tour to South Africa. His injury came in the win over Rhodesia in Bulawayo.
Ian Hunter: The England full back/wing dislocated his shoulder in the opening game of the 1993 Lions tour in New Zealand against North Auckland. He became the first player to head home on that trip.
David Nash: The Wales No8 played two of the three opening games of the 1962 Lions tour in South Africa before damaging his neck against Western Transvaal. He spent a number of days in a nursing home before being sent home.
George Norton: The Irish full back spent almost five weeks on a boat heading to New Zealand for the 1950 Lions tour and then broke his arm in the fifth game three weeks after arriving. He played in three of the 30 matches.
Wilf Sobey: The England scrum-half captained the Lions in the opening game of the 1930 tour to New Zealand. They beat Wanganui 19-3, but he picked up a serious knee injury that forced him to miss every other game on tour. He remained with the party throughout the trip, though.