Folau returns to Australia's Rugby Championship squad
Sep. 02, 2018
SYDNEY (AP) — Fullback Israel Folau may make a comeback from injury sooner than expected after being named Sunday in a 31-man Wallabies squad for the next two matches of the Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa.
Folau limped from the field with an ankle injury during Australia's 38-13 defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney on Aug. 18 and was quickly ruled out of the return match against New Zealand in Auckland a week later.
The 63-test fullback was expected to be out for about a month but now seems a chance to play in Saturday's test against the Springboks in Brisbane. The Wallabies then meet the Pumas on the Gold Coast on Sept. 15.
Prop Taniela Tupou has also been named in the squad, though he is unlikely to play against the Springboks because of a hamstring injury.
The squad features three new faces — ACT Brumbies lock Rory Arnold and Queensland Reds teammates Brandon Paenga-Amosa at hooker and backrower Caleb Timu. Paenga-Amosa featured in all three of Australia's tests against Ireland in June.
The Wallabies are currently last on the Rugby Championship table without a win from two games while New Zealand leads with two wins and the Springboks and Pumas have a win apiece.
Meanwhile, All Blacks center Ryan Crotty may return for the All Blacks in their match against the Pumas in Nelson on Saturday. Crotty suffered a concussion in the first test against Australia and missed the second. Coach Steve Hansen said Sunday the inside center is "symptom free" and will be considered for selection.
Backrower Sam Cane is also in line for selection after recovering from a head injury. But center Sonny Bill Williams, who missed both of New Zealand's tests against Australia while recovering from shoulder surgery, is not fit to play on Saturday.
Hansen said Williams will return to contact training this week and will be considered for selection against the Springboks on Sept. 15.
Australia squad, forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Fainga'a, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou. Backs: Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett- Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua.