HSBC Waratahs No.8 Wycliff Palu is returning home from New Zealand after suffering the reoccurrence of a hamstring strain in his left leg.
Scans in Christchurch yesterday revealed the extent of the damage and given the reoccurrence of the injury, Palu is expected to require six weeks of rehabilitation before he would be fit to be considered for selection again.
“It’s bad luck for Wycliff,” said Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. “Unfortunately his previous history of injury in this area has impacted, in terms of lengthening the timelines that are required for his rehabilitation.”
While Palu will be replaced in Australia’s 30-man squad, Deans says the selectors will be taking their time with that decision, and may even delay any call until after this weekend’s match against Russia in Nelson, so they can determine at that point what the team’s specific needs are.
HSBC Waratahs lock Dan Vickerman and fullback Kurtley Beale also underwent scans in Christchurch yesterday.
Vickerman was cleared of any problems in his leg while Beale, who left the field during the first half of last week’s 67-5 win over the United States, was diagnosed with a minor hamstring strain which will see him rested from this weekend’s match in order to get him ready for a possible quarter-final the following weekend.
HSBC Waratahs centre Rob Horne left the field with a broken cheekbone on Friday with a timeline still to be established for his return.
Centres Pat McCabe (shoulder) and Anthony Fainga’a (head) and Rob Horne (cheek) were also forced off injured against the USA; Fainga’a is following the IRB concussion protocols required by tournament and could be available for Australia’s next match and McCabe, who has made considerable progress with his injury since last weekend, is expected to be fit for consideration for a possible quarter-final appointment.
Although unavailable to play, Horne will run with the squad during its public training in Hanmer Springs this afternoon.
Winger Digby Ioane is continuing his rehabilitation from the dislocated thumb he sustained in Australia’s opening match of the tournament against Italy, and is on-track to be available should the Wallabies qualify for the quarter-finals.
Flankers David Pocock (back) and Scott Higginbotham (back), winger James O’Connor and lock James Horwill (shoulder) are all expected to be available for selection for Australia’s next match at the tournament.