Australia’s recent run of bad news came to an end earlier today with some positive feedback on the injury front.
Having seen their hopes of topping Pool C go up in smoke with a 15-6 defeat to Ireland just over a week ago, the Tri Nations Champions suffered a host of serious setbacks in the comprehensive win over the United States on Friday.
Robbie Deans and co saw a trio of midfield options leave the Cake Tin in Wellington with substantial injuries, while No8 Wycliff Palu and full back Kurtley Beale were also among the walking wounded.
But while Palu is still awaiting the results of a scan on his damaged hamstring, team-mates Rob Horne, Pat McCabe, Anthony Faingaa and Beale should all be able to play some part in the remainder of this World Cup.
It had been feared that centres Horne, McCabe and Faingaa could all be on the plane home as a result of a fractured cheekbone, dislocated shoulder and severe concussion respectively but all three men know look like being available at some point in the knockout stages.
Brumbies star McCabe has recovered quicker than expected after his shoulder popped back almost immediately against the US, meaning he should be available for a likely quarter-final clash with South Africa a week on Sunday.
The 25-year-old, who took Matt Giteau’s place in the Wallaby starting XV earlier this year, can now move his right arm freely and is primed to return to action after the final pool game against Russia on Saturday.
Horne, who has been beset with injury issues over recent seasons and had only just recovered from an elbow injury that had kept him out of the international game for close to a year, is also recovering well and has targeted a return to the matchday squad if Australia reach the semi-finals on the weekend of October 15 and 16.
There was even better news for Faingaa after diagnosis of his knock to the head suggested he will miss just the Russia fixture despite receiving extensive treatment on the pitch against the States and then being stretchered off wearing a neck brace.
As a result, Giteau’s hopes of a World Cup call up appear over, with Deans expected to turn to Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper as his midfield partnership until the injured trio are ready to return.
Digby Ioane, who hasn’t played since fracturing his thumb in the opening win over Italy, is also in line to make the quarter-final, freeing Ashley Cooper to remain in the centres if required.