Four Wallabies in doubt
Sydney - Starting lock Sitaleki Timani is among four players who remain in
doubt for the Wallabies opening Test against France this weekend.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was on Monday waiting on medical
updates on the fitness of Timani, flank David Pocock, hooker Stephen
Moore and winger Digby Ioane.
Timani is the only one of the four who played in the Wallabies Test against the All Blacks in Brisbane last month.
He was replaced by Kane Douglas in the 20th minute of that
match after his lower back tightened up and has been undergoing
rehabilitation ever since.
Ioane injured his knee against Argentina in Rosario the week
before, Moore strained a hamstring in training ahead of the Springboks
match in Pretoria, while Pocock is coming back from a long-term knee
Deans said he would err on the side of caution for all of the
players, despite the urge to roll out his best players for a Test on
which international rankings may hinge.
"They're all going well but it's a matter of, particularly
with the travel, whether they're good enough to enter the fray this
week," he said.
Wallabies coaching staff have spent considerable time pouring
over footage of France's previous outings this year, as well as
Heineken Cup and Top 14 games.
Coach Philippe Saint-Andre has whittled his squad down to 23,
declaring goal-kicking halfback Morgan Parra fit to play, while also
re-introducing backrowers Yannick Nyanga and Damien Chouly, both of whom
have not played in the French side for at least three years.
"It's a game that's important to both teams; both teams have
stated that," Deans said. "Our guys are very enthusiastic about this
trip. They're looking forward to it. Sure, it's been off the back of a
big calendar year, but within the group you wouldn't know that."