Wallabies centre Len Ikitau says he’s trying to avoid thinking about the possibility of injury less than a year out from the Rugby World Cup.
The Brumbies ace is one of the few players who has remained uninjured for the duration of the five-match Spring Tour.
Sunday morning’s final clash against Wales at Principality Stadium in Cardiff will be the last outing of the year for what’s left of the Australian contingent.
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The well-documented injury toll worsened on Wednesday when it emerged former captain Michael Hooper had been ruled out having shown signs of concussion.
Asked whether he felt like the last man standing, Ikitau knocked on the wooden desk, before offering a “yes” and a wry smile.
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“It’s a scary thought, being injured and not being in a position to put yourself forward for the World Cup,” said Ikitau.
“I guess, for us, it’s more just taking it day by day, week by week, and enjoying the process on the way.”
Perhaps the most high-profile loss of late is that of Taniela Tupou, who suffered a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon.
It’s feared the steamrolling prop may miss the tournament altogether.
“Devastated for Nela and the rest of the boys, especially Nela,” said Ikitau.
“I think it’s a long-term injury and I think he’s just got to get back home and then get surgery and go from there. Really sad for Nela.”
Ikitau may find himself back in the No.12 jersey at inside centre, rather than his typical outside centre come Sunday.
He’s found himself in the No.13 jersey since making his debut against France last year.
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“I was thinking about it. I played 12 maybe three times my whole career and it’s against the All Blacks, South Africa, and Ireland, so that’s three big teams,” said Ikitau.
“It’s pretty tough. I always say to [Mark Nawaqanitawase] that I always need reps at 12 just in case injuries happen and that proves why.
“I’ve enjoyed it. I love playing 13 but 12 is a good learning experience for me.”
The final match of this year’s tour gets underway at 2.15am AEDT on Sunday with coverage live, ad-free and exclusively on Stan Sport.
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