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Connolly plan to halt injury carnage

Ben Alexander is the latest injury blow for the Wallabies.

Ben Alexander is the latest injury blow for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly has implored the ARU to extend Australia's Super Rugby squads to prevent the top players from being ''beat up'' during a 12-month campaign.

ACT Brumbies prop Ben Alexander became the latest victim of the Wallabies injury curse yesterday when he was ruled out of tomorrow night's Bledisloe Cup clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Alexander has been battling a wrist problem and he joins a long list of established Wallabies already on the sideline, including Stephen Moore, David Pocock, James Horwill and Will Genia.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has used 38 players in 10 Tests this year.

The bulk of the Wallabies squad has had minimal time to rest over the past two years and the international season will continue with a spring tour to Europe next month.

The extended Super Rugby campaign has increased the workload on Australia's top players and the injury toll continues to grow.

Connolly urged the ARU to expand the Super Rugby squads from 30 to 35 with Extended Player Squad and Academy players on top of that to help cope with the growing rugby schedule.

''The injuries are wide ranging. I don't think you can pinpoint one thing, so it's no one's fault.

''I don't think it's a complete disaster because players have stepped up. I can see Super squads being enlarged to 35 and I can see some players being rested [to cope with the workload].

''[The ARU] has to work with the states, moving forward, one thing you can't do is belt these players around, especially the top 15.

''If they play all the time, they get beat up.''

James Slipper has been called into the starting side to replace Alexander, with Sekope Kepu joining the bench.

Also Saia Faingaa broke his hand earlier this week, and James Hanson was added to the bench as the back-up hooker.

With the likes of Genia, Pocock, Moore, Quade Cooper, James O'Connor and Digby Ioane out of action, fourth-choice captain Nathan Sharpe is the only player who has started all 10 Tests.

Hanson is poised to become the 12th new cap this year if he is used from the bench.

Connolly said the injuries should be treated as individual cases when Deans selects his touring party for the four-game trip to Europe.

Brumbies recruit Pocock is unsure whether he will be fit, while Moore is on track to make a return.

''The manageable amount of games for a player to stay at his peak is about 25-30. You always play with bumps and bruises,'' Connolly said.

''It's hard to stay in that range when you play 15 Tests a year and the pressure is on all the time.''

The injury woes make preparations for the third Bledisloe Cup match even tougher as the Wallabies search for their first win against New Zealand this year.

The World Cup champion All Blacks are aiming for a 17th straight victory.

A look at the Australian bench highlights the fitness struggles. Prop Kepu joins Waratahs teammate Drew Mitchell for their first game since August, while the remaining five reserves boast fewer than 20 caps between them.

Bookmakers give the Wallabies ($5.75 underdogs) little hope at Suncorp Stadium, especially since the All Blacks have hit their straps in the past month after securing the Bledisloe Cup with 27-19 and 22-0 wins in August.

But Slipper hit the nail on the head when he assessed that an upset against the full-strength world champions would take the Wallabies from the outhouse to the penthouse.

''It would mean everything,'' he said. ''I don't want to get too far down the track, but to beat the All Blacks any time [is huge]. I think we're the only team to do it in the last two years.'' with AAP

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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