Hunt sits out Wallabies training

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt has sat out Wallabies training on Thursday, but the Wallabies aren't overly concerned by his lack of availability.

Hunt missed the most recent two Queensland Super Rugby matches, before their bye week, with the niggle but has still not come good in the first week of Test training.

The fullback's lack of involvement is precautionary, with some Wallabies players on modified training schedules, though Hunt was seemingly the most restricted.

It would likely take more than a minor setback for him to be cut from the Wallabies squad, when it is trimmed to 30 this Friday, ahead of the first Test.

His absence, combined with that of Brumbies playmaker Christian Lealiifano has added more intrigue to the already interesting centre selection debate.

Lealiifano has been given time away from camp to spend with his partner, who is expecting a baby, meaning he has not trained with the squad on the Sunshine Coast.

Michael Cheika has led some physical sessions on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: ARU Media/Brian Hook

Attack coach Stephen Larkham said on Thursday morning that there were a number of combinations being trialled ahead of the Brisbane Test, with coaches set to come to a decision next week.

"We are and there are a number of combinations we’ve trialled," he said.

"Christian Lealiifano is one option, Karmichael Hunt, Kyle Godwin is up here... then there’s different combinations with Tevita (Kuridrani) and Israel (Folau).

"We've got two more days this week and we’ll finalise it internally next week."

Larkham followed the precedent set by Cheika in training, playing a part in game simulation and wrestling drills, even getting the better of some of the Wallabies hopefuls one-on-one.

England coach Eddie Jones gave his view on selections when he touched down in Brisbane on Thursday morning, saying he expects Michael Cheika to opt for a conservative lineup in the opening Test.

"Michael’s been fairly consistent in his selections and he’s got a great range of players to choose from," he said.

"There's exciting young talent coming through everywhere for Australia. So I’m sure the 23 they put on the field for the first Test is going to play with the aggression and enthusiasm that Cheik wants."