Arnold gearing up for maiden World Cup berth

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Wallabies lock Rory Arnold is back in full training and gearing up for the biggest moment of his Test career.

Arnold has missed the past two Tests after suffering a hand injury against New Zealand in Perth last month but has been back in contact training in Japan.

The 28-year-old has been one of Australia’s best second rowers this season in Super Rugby and Tests and his return would be a major boost for the Wallabies against Fiji next weekend.

After sitting out much of the Wallabies’ pre-tournament Noumea camp, Arnold said he felt confident he would be fit for the September 21 tournament opener.

“It’s come along good, didn't do a whole lot in Noumea, some field sessions but now I'm back out there and good to go,” he said.

Rory Arnold training in Odawara. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley“Everything's tracking good for that game (against Fiji), so hopefully I’ll be fit for that."

Arnold is one of 18 players who is set to feature in his first Rugby World Cup, after making his Wallabies debut against England in 2016.

It's an opportunity the Brumbies lock hasn't lost sight of.

“Very exciting, I remember watching the last World Cup, seeing how big it was,” he said.

“It doesn't get any bigger than this for a rugby player.”

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The lock has been arguably the in-form Aussie lock this season but just who the Wallabies go with as their starting second row combination against Fiji will be closely watched.

Arnold and Izack Rodda have been the first-choice combination when fit this season and though they would appear to have the inside running, Arnold said any one of their second rowers could perform well.

"I feel like I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment, so now it's just about getting back out on the field and trying to play some good footy now," he said.

“I think across the whole board, we’ve got quality locks there - Simmo (Rob Simmons), Adam (Coleman)...and I'm sure whatever combo they go with those boys will perform.”

Selector Michael O'Connor watching on as the Wallabies train in Odawara. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Wallabies trained at Shiroyama Athletic Park on Thursday, with selector Michael O’Connor keeping a close eye on proceedings.

O’Connor, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and Rugby Australia director of rugby will mull over their selections in the coming days before the Wallabies take on Fiji in Sapporo.

Australia takes on FIji at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday September 21, kicking off at 1:15pm local, 2:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.