Karmichael Hunt is looming as a potential Wallabies replacement for Dane Haylett-Petty if the Western Force star is unable to recover from a torn hamstring in time for June’s Test window.
Haylett-Petty will miss at least the next four weeks and possibly more after suffering the injury in the 16-7 defeat to the Chiefs on the weekend at nib Stadium. His best hope of returning to Super Rugby action appears to be their away clash against the Queensland Reds on May 26 or at home to the Hurricanes the following weekend – the Force’s last two assignments before the competition breaks for international fixtures.
That could be enough time for Hunt – who has been one of Queensland’s stand-out players this season – and he’s so far mounted a compelling selection case to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Hunt admitted his international ambitions were as strong as ever but wasn’t sure how Haylett-Petty’s injury might affect the landscape.
“I don’t know what’s going to go on with positions,” Hunt said.
“I’m not one to be happy with someone’s misfortune.
“I really feel sorry for Dane and I’m not too sure what the extent is or how long he’s going to be out for.
“But he’s a loss for the Wallabies and hopefully he can get back on track as soon as possible.”
The Wallabies will take on Fiji in Melbourne on June 10 before meeting Scotland in Sydney and then Italy in Brisbane.
Hunt could stand to benefit in more ways than one if he breaks through for his long-awaited Test debut during that period. The 30-year-old is seeking a new contract for next season, with the three-year, $1.5 million deal he penned with the Reds upon leaving the AFL in 2014 set to expire. It’s unlikely he will be able to match the salary he is currently on without a top-up from the Australian Rugby Union, which would only be forthcoming if he is playing for Australia.
“I love it here (at the Reds), but we’ll deal with that when it comes,” Hunt said.