Israel Folau in doubt for Wales clash

by staff

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau is in doubt for the side’s final Pool A clash against Wales, still recovering from an ankle injury.

Folau, who has not missed a game for the Wallabies through injury since making his debut in the British and Irish Lions series in 2013, rolled his ankle in the first half of Saturday’s England match

Head coach Michael Cheika said after the match that it was a minor injury but Folau has struggled to shake it as the week has gone on.

The 26-year-old failed to train on Monday and attack coach Stephen Larkham said he wasn’t sure if he would take part in Tuesday’s main session.

“He came off the field in the game with a bit of a sore ankle and didn’t train yesterday. We’re going to wait and see how he pulls up today.,” he said.

“Not even sure if he’s going to train today.”

Folau’s replacement in the England match, Kurtley Beale, played one of his best Wallabies games in recent times, which will give Australia a slice of security should Folau miss the Wales game.

Winger Rob Horne (shoulder) will definitely miss Saturday’s game, with Larkham saying they were hopeful that he would recover in a week’s time.

Australia has a wealth of wingers in their squad, with Drew Mitchell who scored two tries against Uruguay and Joe Tomane in the mix for a call-up for the Wales game.

The availability of vice-captain Michael Hooper will be determined in a hearing at 8pm Tuesday (AEDT), with a number of possible scenarios should he be suspended for his clean out on England fullback Mike Brown.

Larkham praised the efforts of Sean McMahon and Ben McCalman, who shape as the most likely to replace Hooper in the worst case scenario.

"The hearing's this morning, so he’s going to miss training this morning but hopefully this afternoon back on the paddock," he said.

"In the meantime Sean McMahon, Ben McCalman are two guys who’ve really put their hand up in this tournament so far.

“Depending on which way we go, Sean can slot straight into the seven jersey or Ben McCalman can jump in the eight and Poey (David Pocock) can go to seven.

“In saying that Michael has had a tremendous tournament.

“And in fact the games before the tournament he was outstanding as well but these guys are certainly ready to go.”

Larkham said Hooper was optimistic ahead of the hearing and the Wallabies had faith in both the citing and judicial processes.