SYDNEY (AFP) –
The Wallabies are expected to have a new captain for next month’s home Tests against Scotland and Wales as skipper James Horwill will likely be ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Horwill’s name was missing when a 39-man training squad was announced by coach Robbie Deans on Sunday.
Horwill looked a disconsolate figure as he limped off early in the second half of the Queensland Reds’ 13-12 Super 15 victory over the ACT Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
The giant lock will have scans on Monday and Reds’ coach Ewen McKenzie hinted the injury could mean several weeks on the sidelines.
“I don’t think he’ll be running out next week, put it that way,” said McKenzie, who indicated the injury could be related to some earlier surgery on Horwill’s hamstring.
“I’m not an expert but… maybe some scar tissue has given way. We’re hoping for the best.”
David Pocock and Will Genia are the leading contenders to take over as captain for Australia’s Test against Scotland in Newcastle on June 5 followed by three internationals against Wales in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
The fly-half spot is another area of concern for the Wallabies after Kurtley Beale injured his shoulder playing for the Melbourne Rebels in Wellington on Saturday, although he was included in the training squad.
The injury doubt over Beale, coming on top of sidelined James O’Connor, has resulted in the selection of Quade Cooper, even though the Queensland Reds fly-half has had just 120 minutes of playing time since recovering from a serious knee injury suffered at last year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
Fourteen members of the extended training squad are yet to represent Australia in a Test match.
Deans said selectors will name Australia’s match squad to play Scotland on June 3, two days before the Test match.
Deans said delaying the naming of the squad until after the final Super 15 match featuring Australian teams in next weekend’s Super Rugby round was imperative.
“We can’t finalise a side for that match until all of the games are played, and we are in a position to assess all of the players,” Deans said.
“Obviously we have preliminary ideas but the selection probably will change, as a result of events through the final round of Super Rugby before the international break.”