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Thread: Fullback injuries create headaches

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    Fullback injuries create headaches

    Fullback injuries create headaches

    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    Wallabies coach John Connolly has admitted Australia are running out of time to settle on a reliable fullback before the rugby World Cup.

    A concerned Connolly is anxiously waiting on the injury fate of front-running candidate Cameron Shepherd, which won't be known until tomorrow.

    Shepherd has undergone scans in Perth this afternoon after suffering a knee injury in the Western Force's 14-12 Super 14 loss to the Brumbies on Friday night.

    There are fears the in-form winger-fullback could be ruled out for the rest of the season, leaving a major hole at No. 15 leading into the Tri Nations and World Cup, kicking off in France in September.

    Shepherd was seen as the primary back-up to injured incumbent Chris Latham, who will not return from his own knee reconstruction before the latter stages of the Tri Nations in July.

    Force fullback Drew Mitchell now looms as the man most likely to start the domestic Test season for the May 26 clash against Wales in Sydney.

    Australia play another Test against Wales and also Fiji before the stakes and intensity rise significantly in the Tri Nations on June 16 in South Africa.

    "Time is running out there's no doubt about that," Connolly said about the search for Latham's replacement.

    After a horror start in the position for the Force, speedster Mitchell has improved but still lacks a steady boot and is viewed as a more natural winger.

    Brumbies utility Julian Huxley is also in a small frame for a Test debut, unlike Queensland league convert Clinton Schifcofske and mercurial Waratah Peter Hewat.

    Connolly could try to use the three domestic Tests to experiment with wingers Lote Tuqiri or Mark Gerrard at fullback but isn't sold on the risky move of adapting them.

    "It's very hard, those things you wouldn't rule out but it's not the desirable way to go," he said.

    Connolly will check on Latham's progress this week but Australia's most dangerous attacking weapon remains no certainty to return to full fitness or his match-winning form before the World Cup.

    Former Test fullback Matt Burke remains an option for the tournament despite rejecting an offer to return from England to play in the domestic Tests and Tri Nations.

    The Wallabies selectors will name a 30-man squad for the Wales and Fiji Tests on May 20 and will also choose a squad for the five-match Australia A campaign which starts the following month.

    Shepherd, a try-scoring and goal-kicking star for the Force this season, is crossing his fingers that scans will show just low-grade ligament damage and he will be all right for the May 26 Test.

    "The best case scenario is a small operation and he will be right in a couple of weeks but I can't even speculate at the moment," Connolly said.

    AAP

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    Force fullback Drew Mitchell now looms as the man most likely to start the domestic Test season for the May 26 clash against Wales in Sydney.
    Well feel free to disagree, but I for one am scared.

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    Certainly not an ideal solution.
    Going on his recent poise, I would suggest that Lachlan Turner should be brushing up on his Fullback skills, for the Squad mind, not the starting jersey.
    May even be an argument to go back to the future and see Bernie play his last Internationals where he started.
    On form Huxley would have to be the fit favourite.
    Fingers crossed for tomorrows test results and a speedy recovery of both Latham and Shepherd.

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    I would definitely rate Huxley over Mitchell at the present minute. I really don't want to offend, but Mitchell has been shown up on many occasions when in the last line of defense.

    Matthew Burke, as aged as he is, is one of the better options. In the "Mark Gerrard" thinking outside the square box, and with so few options, are "Dads Army" candidates like Andrew Walker in the mix?

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    yea huxley would be my #1 contender for it. then mitch, shifcofske and hewat. they are all good quality fullbacks dont see whats wrong i would trust all of them.

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    Agree with both Jazza and sage, Hux first choice then Mitch...

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    *Dons flame suit*

    Sam "Two-Dads" Norton-Knight was great guns at fullback last year, might be another option worth exploring.

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    Champion Shaun's Avatar
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    Huxley is good; but he kicks the ball WAY to much. He leads the Super 14 with the most kicks and is way ahead of the second most. He needs to run the ball more often because he is cabable of doing so. Drew although he has played 1 or 2 bad games is still my pick. He has a strong boot, maybe even stronger than Hux's and runs the ball hard. He also tends to step it up every time he dons the Wallaby jersey. Saying this I would prefer to see him on the wing.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Even though Drew uses his fingers and toes to count his cards at the Black Jack table, I would still see him as #1 with Hux #2.

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    80 Minutes, 15 Positions, No Protection, Wanna Ruck?

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    Drew drew enough doubles at the blackjack table I thought

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    Since Sheps has been on one leg for a few weeks now I've been hoping the coach would give Jimmy Hilgendorf a shot at 15. This bloke is a class player. With the test and Australia A series around the corner, he might just put his hand up for a utility spot if he gets a chance.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    at training this morning drew had the bright "do not tackle me vest" on (to be sure) at fullback and jimmy was training at 10, gits at 12 with Gits doing a bit of kicking work as well. Bam Bam will be rotated for Matty H again this week.

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    80 Minutes, 15 Positions, No Protection, Wanna Ruck?

    Ruck Me, Maul Me, Make Me Scrum!

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    Bam-Bam: Rotated out or to the Bench do you think TIF?

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    to the bench mate, then run on for Blues according to Bam Bam himself.

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    80 Minutes, 15 Positions, No Protection, Wanna Ruck?

    Ruck Me, Maul Me, Make Me Scrum!

    Education is Important, but Rugby is Importanter!

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    that looks good they dont need a gits at 5/8 against cheetahs hilgendorf can handle that.

    does a do not takle me vest mean he is injurd or there worried he might get injurd

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