Australia remain hopeful that star prop Benn Robinson will be fit to play at this year’s World Cup.
Robinson tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a national training session two-and-a-half weeks ago and appeared destined to miss the global gathering in New Zealand.
But the 27-year-old opted against reconstructive knee surgery in favour of an extensive rehabilitation programme designed to get him back playing in time for the Pool C opener against Italy in Auckland on September 11.
Robinson, who has been a central figure in solidifying a previously horridly inefficient Wallaby scrum, missed the shock defeat to Samoa and the 39-20 win over South Africa but head coach Robbie Deans is likely to give the Waratahs loosehead as much time as possible to prove his fitness.
And that decision has the backing of one of Robinson’s main rivals for a World Cup spot, with James Slipper admitting that Robinson’s record means the Wallaby coaching staff should be doing all they can to ensure he crosses the Tasman Sea in just over a month’s time.
"He deserves to have the most time to prove himself," Slipper, who is himself struggling with an ankle knock, told AAP.
"He's the calibre of player that deserves to have all the time he needs to get into the squad.
"He's actually quite fit and he seems to get around the field really well, so I don't think fitness will be a problem.
"I hope he does make it for Australia's sake – he's a great player and everyone looks up to him.
"He's somewhat of a coach himself. He gave me a lot of advice when I was coming through last year and I learned a lot off him."