The Australian national team got a more physical clash with the USA than they bargained for.
A nasty-looking clash of Anthony Faingaa’s head on Chris Wyles’s knee saw the Australian center down and out at the end of the game. Faingaa did not look good and he will be out at least two weeks.
Meanwhile, center Pat McCabe dislocated a shoulder, No. 8 Wycliff Palu and fullback Kurtley Beale both injured their hamstrings, and Rob Horne fractured his cheekbone and could be done for the World Cup.
The rest of the players will be happy to take a few days in one of New Zealand’s most relaxing spa towns before ending pool play against Russia.
The Wallabies are off to Hanmer Springs, a town in the highlands of New Zealand’s South Island. Surrounded by some of New Zealand’s largest sheep ranches (stations), Hanmer Springs is a town given over to the pursuit of skiing, hiking, bungee jumping, and relaxing.
The Spa at Hanmer Springs is a complex of thermal pools heated by geothermal power. The Spa has three types of pools – natural spring pools with all the minerals intact, chlorinated freshwater pools, and chlorinate jet pools. In addition, there’s a water park for the kids and private saunas for the chilly.
The staff at Hanmer Springs will be wearing T-shirts saying “Welcome Wallabies” but earlier this month there were plenty of jokes among the staff and the residents about how New Zealand’s greatest rivals will be “cared for” in the pools.
Not to worry, there’s won’t be anyone conveniently trapped in the geothermal pools before the big game.
The Spa itself treats its visitors well, with an attentive and intelligent staff of lifeguards making sure people are safe, and no one gets left behind in the rock-lined pools.
It will be welcome and scenic place for the Australians to recuperate for the next part of their World Cup journey.
Hanmer Springs marketing manager Scott Callaway has a rugby connection, too. In his work with New Zealand Rugby and Canterbury of New Zealand he was able to secure signed jerseys from the 1998 Super 12 league for the local library. Those jerseys are proudly displayed on the wall, along with an old-style All Blacks jersey signed by living members of an all-time All Blacks team.
The library also proudly features clippings and photos of Hanmer Springs’ own All Black, Hugh Burry, now 81. Burry, a retired doctor, played for Canterbury when they defeated Fiji, Australia, and even the All Blacks.
There’s even an American connection to Hanmer Springs, too. Michigander Lisa Preston works at the library and, with her husband, Chris, runs the Amuri Estate Retreat just a mile outside of Hanmer Springs. Up a dirt road, past the sheep and llama farms, the retreat is a small, beautifully appointed hotel with stunning views of Hanmer Basic and the mountains. Chris Preston planted olive trees in the field beside the hotel, providing visitors with a shaded place to walk in the summer, and plenty of green in the winter.
Information for Hanmer Springs Spa at http://www.hanmerspa.co.nz/
Information for the Amuri Estate Retreat is www.amuri.co.nz