The NSW Waratahs are bracing for life without key pair Jake Gordon and Joey Walton as coach Rob Penney called for less “toilet seat moments” in Saturday’s Super Rugby AU clash with the Brumbies.
Gordon, in his first game as captain, scored after three minutes but it was all downhill from there in a season-opening 41-7 loss to the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
Gordon was his side’s best player but added more headaches for Penney when he limped off with an ankle injury in the second half.
No.12 Walton also suffered an ankle injury while No.13 Izaia Perese was red-carded for a dangerous tackle and will miss three games of an eight-game regular season.
Penney will name a replacement captain on Tuesday for a side already missing more than 1500 games of Super Rugby experience from departures in the last two seasons.
“They’ll be out for a period of time, I don’t know the level but certainly won’t be available in next week or so,” Penney said of Walton and Gordon.
The Waratahs allowed three tries in nine minutes after Gordon had scored, then kept the Reds scoreless for 20 minutes while a man down before the hosts scrossed twice in the last nine minutes to set up their biggest Super Rugby victory over their state rivals.
“There were massive degrees of diversion,” Penney said of the Waratahs’ performance.
“There was some really good bits, but some really ugly bits.
“We’re liable to have toilet seat moments – up and down – it’s not an excuse, but we’ve just got to get better.”