Pretoria - Australia were given a further blow ahead of their Rugby Championship match against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld when reserve loose forward Scott Higginbotham looked set to be ruled out of the game.
Higginbotham, who was named on the bench, tweaked his back in training on Thursday and will be given until Saturday morning to prove his fitness, but at the moment it seems unlikely he will make the Test 22 for the match on Saturday. Kick-off is at 17:00.
The Wallabies already lost hooker Stephen Moore in the week and had to overcome a bout of gastro that hit up to six members of the team as well as certain management, and have had the cloud of Quade Cooper’s comments hanging over their heads all week.
If Higginbotham is indeed ruled out, he will be replaced by utility back Mike Harris, and the bench will revert back from a five-two to a four-three split between forwards and backs.
It will also be a personal blow to the loose forward, who also had to withdraw in 2010 with a back injury hours before the game at Loftus Versfeld, and whose only other appearance at the stadium was in the Reds' 61-8 Super Rugby defeat at the hands of the Bulls.