Israel Folau (Getty Images)
London – Already in a race against time to get ready for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand, Australia’s battered squad received positive news on Monday with no-one showing serious ill-effects from Sunday’s bruising semi-final win over Argentina.
The Wallabies went into the match with two key players, David Pocock and Israel Folau, still nursing injuries and loosehead prop Scott Sio missing because of a swollen elbow and had to use all seven substitutes to make it through the match, which they won 29-15.
But on Monday, Australian coach Michael Cheika said the early signs were encouraging that everyone would be available for the final at Twickenham.
“We’re not too bad. We’ve just had recovery now and spoke to the doc and the physios,” Cheika told reporters from the team’s leafy training base in Teddington, south-west London.
“The players who went into the match with some injury are looking pretty good the way they came out of it, probably much better than we expected so we’ll see how that progresses.
“There are some sore bodies but no more than normal for a World Cup semi-final.
“Once we get today out of the way we can start seeing everyone running on the field and we’ll get a better opinion of how everyone is running for next week.”
Pocock, who missed the quarter-final win over Scotland with a calf injury, completed the entire match and had a very strong game, especially in defence and at the breakdown.
Folau, who also missed the quarter-final with an ankle problem, was not at his absolute best and was taken off after about an hour after being hurt in a tackle, though Cheika said that was always the plan for him to go off early.
“Israel Folau pulled up pretty good, he was always going to tire a bit at the end with his injury,” Cheika said.
“He got caught under tackle, but we were taking him off anyway because 60 was about his duration with that ankle injury. It was just the fatigue of it.”
Cheika said he had no major concerns about
The Wallabies coach was optimistic about Sio’s prospects of returning, which would be a major boost after the Australian scrum struggled in his absence against Argentina.
“Scott Sio will be back on the training paddock this week. We’ll see how he goes,” Cheika said.
“He’s been running already and he’s got movement back in his elbow. We’ll see how that applies to some of his specialities such as scrummaging and mauling and we’ll take it from there.”