Wallabies face fullback headache

Tue, 02 Oct 2012 08:28

Although the Wallabies' injury woes have improved slightly, there is still a question mark over who will play at fullback against Argentina this weekend.

Coach Robbie Deans' team touched down in Rosario on Monday ahead of their final match of the Rugby Championship against the Pumas without star backs Adam Ashley-Cooper and Berrick Barnes who were injured in their loss to the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld.

Barnes suffered a punctured lung and Ashley-Cooper was stretchered from the field with concussion so both players remained behind in South Africa, and their absence has created something of a selection dilemma for Deans.

With the loss of both utility backs the Wallabies coach has been left seriously thin on fullback options and may use either Mike Harris, Pat McCabe or Dom Shipperley - none of whom have any meaningful experience in the position - whilst Ashley-Cooper's spot at outside centre is set to be filled by either Anthony Fainga'a or Ben Tapuai.

The Wallabies received something of a boost with the news that five previously doubtful players will be available for selection.

Wing Digby Ioane (kneecap), hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (shoulder) and loose forward Radike Samo (shoulder) were all injured in Pretoria but should be able to start against Argentina whilst lock Sitaleki Timani and loose forward Scott Higginbotham, who missed the Springbok Test, are back in contention.

Reds fullback Luke Morahan and Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville have been called up to join the squad, but they are not expected to be named in the starting line-up.