Western Force No.8 Ben McCalman has been ruled out of Friday night's clash against the Queensland Reds.
Western Force No.8 Ben McCalman has been ruled out of Friday night's clash against the Queensland Reds. PAUL MILLER

McCalman ruled out of Wallabies Tests

RUGBY: Another fractured shoulder will keep Western Force skipper Ben McCalman out of Friday night's Super Rugby showdown with the Queensland Reds but coach David Wessels is confident his star No.8 is finally on the improve.

McCalman has fractured his right scapula four times over the past year but was expected to return from his most-recent setback against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane but he is still at least five weeks away from a return.

McCalman's delayed recovery means he will miss the Wallabies' Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy in June but Western Force coach David Wessels is confident he has uncovered a program that will solve the problem for good.

Wessels said a specialist in Sydney has finally figured out why McCalman, who missed the first six rounds with a dislocated thumb, has been suffering repetitive fractures.

"The best explanation I've understood from the doctors is the first time it happens, your body kind of reacts, it knows there's an injury (to heal)," Wessels said.

"But if that happens a number of times, the body starts to treat that fracture as normal.

"So the body hasn't reacted and healed the fracture in the way we would have expected, because he's had a number of repeats there.

"So they've done a couple of different medical things to try to shore that up and get a different response.

"I think, for the first time, we've finally got on top of what's actually causing the injury.

"We're pretty confident about that. We're hoping after the Test break, he'll be good to go."


Ben McCalman of the Force, left, fends off Liam Coltman of the Highlanders during Round 6 Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and Force at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, Friday, April 01, 2016. (AAP Image/SNPA, Dianne Manson) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Ben McCalman on the charge for the Western Force. Dianne Manson

If all goes to plan, the abrasive No.8 will make his return for the Force in the July 7 home clash against Melbourne.

The Force, hammered 55-6 by the Highlanders last week, have named veteran flanker Matt Hodgson to return against the Reds.

Michael Ruru will replace injured halfback Ian Prior (arm) while Peter Grant has recovered from a head knock to retain his place at five-eighth.