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Rugby Australia tweaked their eligibility laws for 2020. Their No.1 target could miss The Rugby Championship

Mon, 28/09/2020, 12:38 am
Christy Doran
by Christy Doran
Rory Arnold fractured his arm in Toulouse's loss to Exeter. Photo: Getty Images
Rory Arnold fractured his arm in Toulouse's loss to Exeter. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will be sweating over the scans of Rory Arnold, with reports surfacing out of France that the world class lock has fractured his right-arm.

The 30-year-old, who came into his own during last year's World Cup, was expected to be called-up during World Rugby's six-week international window to accommodate The Rugby Championship.

Despite now plying his trade in France, Rugby Australia tweaked their eligibility laws for 2020 only to allow for two players, who don't already meet the 60 cap, seven-year threshold, to be selected for the tournament which opened the possibility for Arnold to add to his 26 Tests.

In many respects, the law change for 2020 was being called the 'Arnold Amendment' given how highly regarded the lock is seen.

Arnold was replaced after 23 minutes during Toulouse's 28-18 loss to Exeter in the European Champions Cup semi-final.

But if his fractured arm is confirmed, it's likely that he will miss the majority of The Rugby Championship which gets underway on November 7 and runs until December 12.

"He's certainly a guy that's come up in discussion (to be called up)," new Wallabies forwards coach and former England lock Geoff Parling told reporters on Monday from Christchurch.

"We have had good conversations about (him) and he's certainly a decent player, and I like him as well because he's about 7ft 4 so that definitely helps at this level.

"It's unfortunate for Rory, he's certainly someone that's come into discussion about joining us for that Rugby Championship but now we'll just reassess."

Nonetheless, Parling said he was confident in the cattle already at the Wallabies.

"I've also got lots of confidence in the guys that I've got here; some great players and some great athletes," Parling said.

"We'll find out how bad that injury is specifically and go from there."


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Wallabies management was aware of the injury immediately because Parling, who won the English Premiership before moving to the Melbourne Rebels for the 2018 season, was watching the match in the early hours of the morning in New Zealand.

"We definitely were (aware)," he added.

"I watched the game, I saw him go off with a shoulder so we were definitely aware of it.

"But obviously it takes a bit of time to get the specific injuries. We've got an idea of what it might be, but we probably need a bit more info as for how long."

If Arnold was, indeed, ruled out there are a number of other highly sought after players overseas that Rugby Australia could ask to return, including Will Skelton, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda and Tolu Latu.

Any further injuries to the current crop of Wallabies would likely see another player from up north be called upon.

Veteran lock Rob Simmons and Reds forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shape as the obvious pairing to start in the second-row, while Matt Philip and uncapped Junior Wallaby Trevor Hosea will likely compete for a bench spot.

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