Press "Enter" to skip to content

Wallabies captain Will Skelton in doubt for Fiji clash with calf issue

The Wallabies have been rocked ahead of a crucial Rugby World Cup clash with skipper Will Skelton in major doubt after suffering a calf issue.

The giant lock pulled up late in their training session with a tight calf and was sent for scans ahead of the Wallabies’ clash with Fiji in Saint-Etienne on Sunday (Monday AEST).

The Wallabies hadn’t made a call on Friday on whether he would take on the Fijians, with Australia almost guaranteed a quarter-final berth with a victory.

Test centurion prop James Slipper will front up for his fourth Rugby World Cup among three changes to the Wallabies starting team.

Slipper will replace injured spearhead Tupou in the starting front-row for the match on Sunday (Monday AEST), becoming the third Australian to play in four tournaments alongside George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Lining up for his 132nd Test appearance, the 34-year-old missed their tournament-opening victory over Georgia in Paris with a foot issue.

Another change forced by injury is at halfback, with veteran Nic White replacing Tate McDermott who is out under concussion protocols, with rookie Issak Fines-Leleiwasa set to make his World Cup debut from the bench.

Coach Eddie Jones has also brought athletic lock Nick Frost into the starting lineup ahead of Richie Arnold, who has been relegated to the bench in place of flanker Langi Gleeson as the Wallabies look to shore up their lineout at the back end of the game.

Jones has retained goal-kicking ace Ben Donaldson at fullback with Andrew Kellaway again missing the match-day 23 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

With Fiji losing their opening pool match against Wales, Australia are almost guaranteed a quarter-final berth with a victory, with Jones underlining its importance.

“Fiji is the most important match of our Rugby World Cup campaign,” Jones said.

“It’s another big opportunity for our young side to keep getting better and we’ll be ready on Sunday.”

Jones has retained the remainder of the starting squad that downed Georgia 35-20.

Melbourne’s Jordan Uelese has recovered from injury to line up for his 19th Test replacing Matt Faessler on a raw bench, with just he and Rob Leota having more than seven appearances for Australia.

skip past newsletter promotion

The Wallabies are hopeful that star tighthead Tupou, who suffered a minor hamstring injury at training, will be available to take on Wales in their third pool match in Lyon next week.

Backrower Leota, who also came off the bench against Georgia said that the team had a “next man up” mentality when players were ruled out.

“There’s 33 in this team and we know it’s out of our control when things like that happens so our prep can’t change,” Leota said.

“We’ve got to keep prepping like we’ve been doing the whole week against Fiji and we just back the next guy that comes up and if they take Nela’s [Tupou’s] spot we just give them the same confidence that we give Nela.”

Playing in his first World Cup, Leota said the experience of Slipper had been invaluable before their first outing at a full house at Stade de France.

“Before that first game [Slipper] helped us, just giving us insight into what it was like the first time for him,” he said.

“Just helping us with our nerves … it’s normal to have nerves and to hear that from someone like Slippy it just helps ease our nerves a lot knowing that one of our leaders is just like us.”

Wallabies lineup: Angus Bell, David Porecki, James Slipper, Nick Frost, Will Skelton (c), Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Jordan Petaia, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson. Res: Jordan Uelese, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Richie Arnold, Rob Leota, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Lalakai Foketi, Suliasi Vunivalu.

This post was originally published on this site

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *