SEASON-ending biceps surgey for Dane Haylett-Petty has robbed the frontline winger of an emotional Test appearance in front of the Western Force faithful in Perth on Saturday night.
Losing Australia's most reliable winger for the nine Tests ahead is a blow to the Wallabies that creates a chance for a hungry fleet of alternative fliers over the next three months.
It's a cruel twist for Haylett-Petty who had hoped to give rugby fans in the west something to smile about with a big display against South Africa in the same week the NSW Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Australian Rugby Union chopping the Force from Super Rugby next year.
There is always extra meaning for the shrewd back whenever he kits up against the Springboks he once dreamt of playing for when growing up in Durban as a child.
Haylett-Petty returned from an injury break to start in the recent Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin and left the field just after the hour mark to have a facial wound attended to.
His biceps muscle stiffened up in that short period and he was replaced for the rest of the Test by Reece Hodge.
Haylett-Petty had further scans on Wednesday on an injury first sustained when tackling teammate Ben McCalman at Force training after the Super Rugby season.
While he could have played on with recurring stiffening and inconvenience, the call was made for him to deal with the issue with upcoming surgery to one of the smaller muscles in his left bicep.
He will be out for three months, which rules out the 18-Test back from making the November tour to Europe.
It creates an opening for utility Hodge to find a consistent home or a spot for Sefa Naivalu or Marika Koroibete, the former NRL finisher from the Melbourne Storm who built his transition case further last weekend with two strong tries for Melbourne Rising in the National Rugby Championship.
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