Wallabies captain absent at team photo
NEWS: The Wallabies insist they haven’t made a final call on injured captain Will Skelton for their World Cup clash with Fiji, however the giant lock was missing from their final training session ahead of the pivotal game.
The Australians filed into Saint-Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Friday for their captain’s run and their official team photo with no sign of Skelton.
He suffered a calf issue at training on Wednesday and was sent for scans but the Wallabies camp haven’t revealed the seriousness of the injury.
A spokesman said that despite his absence a final decision won’t be made until Saturday, 24 hours before the match.
During the team photo lock Richie Arnold, who was named on the bench, wore a starting jersey while Matt Philip had the No.19 on his back in an indication he will now have a role in the match-day 23.
Veteran centre Samu Kerevi and hooker Dave Porecki sat either side of coach Eddie Jones – with one set to take over the captaincy from Skelton.
It’s a massive blow to lose Skelton for their biggest game of the year, with the Wallabies all but guaranteed a quarter-final berth with a win over Fiji.
Australia will already be without spearhead prop Taniela Tupou due to a hamstring injury and first-choice halfback and vice-captain Tate McDermott after a head knock.
With a joint weight of around 270kg, the loss of Skelton and Tupou would dent the Wallabies’ plans to dominate Fiji at set pieces as they did against the Georgians.
The Wallabies haven’t lost to Fiji since 1954 and opened their World Cup campaign with a win over Georgia.
The Pacific Islanders fell to pool rivals Wales in a first-round thriller.