Hunt blow for Wallabies, Cheika rules out Lealiifano call-up


Karmichael Hunt is set to miss the majority of Australia's Rugby Championship campaign after undergoing ankle surgery.

The Reds centre made his Wallabies debut against Fiji in June and also started against Scotland and Italy.

Hunt will sit out the Bledisloe Cup clashes with New Zealand next month, but is expected to play a part later in the Rugby Championship after he was ruled out for up to eight weeks following a minor operation.

"Karmichael's going to be out for six to eight weeks," Australia head coach Michael Cheika said.

"He ended up having a small operation on a syndesmosis injury so he's got nothing doing for the first 10 days and then we'll start working on him and his fitness level so as soon as he's ready to go he's straight back in.

"Obviously 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, makes an opportunity for someone else in the team now."

Cheika ruled out rushing Christian Lealiifano back into the squad after he made his Super Rugby return for the Brumbies in the quarter-final loss to the Hurricanes on Friday, less than a year after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

"I don't think he'd want to [report for international duty], to be honest," Cheika said.

"I think he'd want to stay at home and maybe play a bit of club footy as well and get a bit of rhythm into playing regular football again."