James Hanson and Sam Carter will now join up with Australia’s Rugby World Cup squad after it was revealed both Wycliff Palu and Will Skelton have been ruled out for the rest of the tournament through injury.
Australia are currently joint-top of Pool A with Wales but this was the last thing they needed heading into what could be a make or break match-up with a wounded England, who are just three points off the Wallabies.
Palu has sustained a hamstring injury while Skelton has suffered a pectoral injury scans confirmed on Monday following the Uruguay game, according to the Wallabies’ official website.
The Waratahs forward’s injury appears to be the more serious of the two and he may now need to have surgery on his return to Australia.
Michael Cheika told rugby.com.au that he’s ‘gutted’ for the players and for the team as whole.
“Very few players have the opportunity to play for the Wallabies, let alone at a Rugby World Cup, so from that perspective I’m really gutted for them.
“From a team perspective, they both play important roles in the side and it is disappointing that we need to replace players in our squad.”
Despite Tuesday morning’s disappointing news, Hanson and and Carter’s combined 22 caps provides Cheika with every faith in his replacements.
“Both James and Sam have been part of the team at various stages this season and I am confident they will be able to step up and grasp the opportunity they have been given.”
Australia play England at Twickenham this Saturday knowing the importance of a win over the host nation.
This game will also be of huge interest to Wales, who will be well aware that if they beat Fiji on Thursday and the Wallabies overcome England it could effectively send both top teams though to the knockout phase at the expense of Stuart Lancaster’s men.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena