Injured trio given until last minute to prove fitness

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies will give their injured trio until the last minute to prove their fitness for Sunday’s semi-final against Argentina.

Scott Sio (elbow), David Pocock (calf) and Israel Folau (ankle) have all played little part in training this week but will have a final opportunity to prove their fitness on Friday, ahead of the team announcement.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said selection would be determined after the morning’s training session.

“After today we’ll know obviously,” he said.

“Everyone had a good day away yesterday, we didn’t talk too much footy and this morning I’ll find out what they’re going to do at training and we’ll decide how we roll.”

Sio seems the most unlikely to play, with the team still waiting for swelling on his elbow to come down.

“He ran a little bit the other day. It all depends on how much the swelling comes down in his elbow," Cheika said.

“Obviously it’s important for him for scrummaging in particular so that will be the main issue there.

“Like I said we’ll run them out today and see how we go.”

Cheika was unwilling to speculate on the fate of the three on Friday morning, after a day off training for the squad on Thursday.

“Nothing’s changed,” he said.

“Like I’ve said before, they’re on the improve.

They both (Folau and Pocock) did a little bit earlier in the week, as you saw, and the goal will be for them to play to get out on the paddock today and have a bit of a run around, finish the full session and see how they go."

One thing that is certain, though, is that the three won’t be wrapped in cotton wool, Cheika said.

“It’s a World Cup semi-final so it’s not like we’re keeping anyone for next week,” he said.

“Before I start talking about things, I prefer to let them run out and then tomorrow we’ll be able to talk about it with some certainty.”

If Sio is ruled out, it is likely that James Slipper will come into the starting loosehead position, while Ben McCalman and Kurtley Beale would retain their spots at number eight and fullback, respectively.

The Wallabies have a training session on Friday ahead of the team announcement, with two days until their semi-final against Argentina at Twickenham.