Sydney - Inside back Karmichael Hunt has been ruled out for
eight weeks following ankle surgery and will miss the Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup
opener with New Zealand next month, team officials said on Monday.
Hunt, one of the stars of Australia's home Tests last month,
had an ankle sprain and will miss a chunk of the Wallabies' Rugby Championship
campaign, starting with the All Blacks in Sydney on August 19.
Hunt and Kurtley Beale were set to compete for the No 12
spot but with the dual rugby international out for an extended period Beale is
in line to make his first start for the Wallabies since 2015.
"Karmichael is going to be out for six to eight
weeks," coach Michael Cheika told reporters.
"He ended up having a small operation on his
syndesmosis injury and will do nothing for the first 10 days before we start
working on him and his fitness levels.
"He's very disappointed but there's nothing you can do
about it when the injury happens, you've got to get on with it. It makes an
opportunity for someone else in the team now."
Hunt, 30, will be aiming to return for the Wallabies' away
Rugby Championship Tests in South Africa and Argentina in October.
Wing Eto Nabuli has also been ruled out for the Bledisloe
Cup opener, with an ankle and a posterior cruciate ligament injury.