Will Genia is ‘50/50’ to return to the Rebels side this week, while Dane Haylett-Petty is on track to come back from a neck issue, back Tom English says.
Genia injured his knee in the Rebels’ loss to the Crusaders three weeks ago, with an initial prognosis putting him in doubt for the June Series, but the halfback has made quick progress in his rehab.
English said the 30-year-old was close to a comeback, but just needed to pass some milestones before playing.
Haylett-Petty has struggled with concussion issues since a loss to the Waratahs back in March, before it emerged a neck problem was the cause of his niggles, with the fullback in line to play against the Sunwolves on Friday night.
“Dane's looking really well,” he said.
“I have full confidence that Dane will be back playing.
“Willy, I think it's a 50/50 - he's out there now, he's just got a few more things to tick off with his running and fitness, by the looks of it, he's been kicking well and been running well in rehab.
“I think it's more of an issue of if and when.”
Though having even one of those Wallabies in the side against the Sunwolves would be a major boost, but English said they showed against the Brumbies that they could win without the pair.
“You could see the effect those two guys have on the squad, both world-class players, both represent their country and they really bring an element of experience to the team,” he said.
“But in saying that, we didn't have both of those guys, two weeks prior and we won.
“That also gives us a lot of confidence in the guys that when you have an injury you've got blokes that can really step up and really feel the void.”
The Rebels’ win over the Brumbies, before the bye, snapped a five-game losing streak for the Melbourne side, and English said they hadn’t lost confidence in that lull.
“When you lose nine in a row, like last year ,four or five is nothing,” he said.
“I had full confidence in the boys and the performance we're putting in at the start of the year (and) that we'd regain that form, it was just looking for ways to get back into that type of form
“For us, that turned to looking back at simple things."
The Rebels face a Sunwolves side on a roll, having won two games in a row for the first time, and English said the Japanese side’s high tempo style would suit them as well.
“We pride ourselves on being an attacking team, we have weapons out there like Sefa (Naivalu), Marika (Koroibete), Jack Maddocks and if Dane Haylett-Petty's back in, they love getting their hands on the ball,” he said.
“If we can have a game where there's a lot of ball in play, I think it'll benefit both sides and it'll be an enjoyable spectacle to watch.”
The Rebels host the Sunwolves on Friday night at AAMI Park, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.