Moore bad news for Wallabies

Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore is a major doubt for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with the Springboks. [more]

Moore bad news for Wallabies

Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore is a major doubt for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash with the Springboks.

The veteran Brumbies front rower is undergoing scans after injuring his hamstring at training earlier today.

No official line has been given on Moore’s chances of being fit for the Round 3 encounter in Perth but his absence would be a big blow for an Australian side looking to bounce back from successive defeats.

The timing of the injury is a also a particularly frustrating one for Moore himself as he was all set to break Jeremy Paul’s record of 72 caps in the Wallaby No2 shirt.

If Moore is ruled out of Saturday’s fixture, Tatafu Polota-Nau of the Waratahs will take his place in the starting line up, with Saia Fainga'a from the Reds promoted to the replacements bench.

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Such a move would at least bring a sense of justice for Polota-Nau, who was originally picked to face the All Blacks in Auckland a fortnight ago before pulling up sore after the Thursday training session.

Head coach Robbie Deans would be forgiven for being slightly less philosophical, however, as Moore’s hamstring problem is the latest in a long line of injury setbacks for the Wallabies.

Captain James Horwill and stand-in skipper David Pocock are both unavailable, as are wings Drew Mitchell, Joe Tomane and Cooper Vuna, centre Pat McCabe, back rowers Ben McCalman and Wycliff Palu, plus utility back James O’Connor.

Throw in the fact that star fly-half Quade Cooper is seriously undercooked as far as top-level rugby is concerned following knee surgery and second row Nathan Sharpe has answered an international SOS despite retiring from the club game, and it becomes clear just how difficult a task Deans has ahead of him.

But despite the disappointment of potentially losing another front-line player with four games of the tournament still left to play, prop Ben Alexander insists the Wallabies can cope without Moore.

"We've been practicing a lot at training with lots of different combinations. We very rarely pack more than a couple in a row with the same guys," said Alexander.

"We're always changing props, changing sides, changing hookers, so it shouldn't cause any problem.

"If Taf gets a chance, we all know what he's capable of."

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