Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle says Wallabies flanker Lukhan Tui will not be rushed into making a call on his rugby return.
Tui is taking time away from the game while his Test teammates are in South Africa and Argentina after the sudden death of his stepfather last week.
The 21-year-old told teammates after Australia’s loss to Argentina just over a week ago that he wanted to take the rest of the year away from rugby after a tumultuous few days culminated in the backrower clashing with a Wallabies fan.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Castle said there was no decision made on whether Tui would join the Test group for next month’s Bledisloe or the three-week Spring Tour.
“I actually went up to his father’s funeral in Brisbane yesterday, I went to the funeral and he’s made it clear that he needs some space to support his family through this difficult time and he won’t travel to South Africa and Argentina and when (the team) gets back that’s when I think we’ll have another conversation with him,” she said.
Castle also reiterated Rugby Australia’s support for Michael Cheika, saying the board backed his plan for the team heading into the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“He’s got a plan that he’s been working towards that World Cup,” she said.
“Yes, losing to Argentina is not where he wants it to be but we’re in constant dialogue with him, we know he’s got a plan and we support that plan.”
There has been speculation that a new face might be added to the Wallabies fold whether that is in a selector’s capacity or something similar, after Australia’s loss to Argentina in the Rugby Championship left them with just two wins from six Tests in 2018.
No changes have been made to Cheika’s coaching team yet but Castle said that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be additions down the track.
“He (Cheika) would always need to be reviewing that, as you would whether you’re winning or losing to make sure he’s got the best people as we move into the World Cup next year,” she said.
“I know that when we have some losses the blowtorch comes on those conversations and he’s certainly aware of them and he needs to make sure he’s got the best people around him.”
The Wallabies arrived in Port Elizabeth on Sunday ahead of next weekend’s clash with the Springboks.
Australia takes on South Africa in Port Elizabeth on Saturday local, Sunday September 30 1:05am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.