PERTH - Australia's captain's curse has struck again, with stand-in skipper Will Genia to be sidelined for up to six months after scans confirmed the star halfback had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
Genia's injury follows the long-term omissions of regular captain James Horwill (hamstring) and the man who replaced him, David Pocock (knee), who are both already ruled out for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
Halfback Genia went down with 11 minutes to go in Saturday night's 26-19 win over South Africa in Perth. The Queensland star will be replaced in the Wallabies squad by Western Force veteran Brett Sheehan, with Rebels No.9 Nick Phipps expected to start against Argentina on the Gold Coast this Saturday.
Coach Robbie Deans said Genia was a massive loss, but Phipps was capable of stepping up.
Although it seems to be a poisoned chalice, Nathan Sharpe looks set to assume the captaincy as he counts down the final matches of his stellar international career.
"I don't think we'll have a formal leader any more ... every person we've given the title to has broken so we might just have someone lead the group out the tunnel and we might have a meeting with a few good men on Monday morning to discuss the week," joked Deans.
"Will Genia is not there and Will Genia is a special player, there's no doubt.
"But as we've seen in recent times it's a team game and no one can do it by themselves and the group that combines effectively is more dangerous than one man."
In a further blow, lock Sitaleki Timani is considered highly unlikely for the Argentina fixture after suffering a grade one hamstring injury in his man-of-the-match performance against the Springboks.