Unsung Wallabies hero Fardy happy to avoid the limelight
Doubts remain about the Wallabies’ injured trio of stars, despite full-back Israel Folau briefly joining the main training group ahead of their World Cup semi-final date with Argentina.
Folau (ankle), back rower David Pocock (calf) and loosehead prop Scott Sio (elbow) are all pivotal to the Wallabies’ hopes of knocking out the Rugby Championship’s rising new power.
Pocock was once again held back from running by coaching staff and spent the session riding a bike.
His inability to get onto the training paddock will surely test coach Michael Cheika’s insistence that players must be fully fit to be picked for the Twickenham elimination clash on Monday (AEDT).
Cheika will announce his matchday squad on Saturday (AEDT).
Sio, who suffered his elbow injury during a collapsed scrum in the second half of the Wallabies’ 35-34 win over Scotland at Twickenham last Monday (AEDT), remains the least likely to face the Pumas.
Though scans earlier in the week are understood to have revealed less damage than initially feared, bruising is still going down on the elbow and in the physical engine room of the Wallabies’ scrum there is little room for weakness.
The Wallabies insist they will give Sio every chance to prove his fitness and have not entertained the thought of sending for an injury replacement.
They also enjoy good depth in the front row, with Greg Holmes, James Slipper and Toby Smith all available to step up.
Folau has been troubled since rolling his ankle against England three weeks ago, but lifted the hopes of Cheika and his staff by making a brief appearance during training at their south London base on Wednesday.
He had a 10-minute stint running drills before leaving the field to continue his recovery.
One surprise participant at training on Wednesday was coach Cheika, who packed down at flanker during scrummaging drills.
It is not an entirely unusual sight, however, with the hands-on Cheika keen to find any way to motivate his players.
Genia expresses self-belief in Wallabies’ World Cup hopes
A day after Cheika admitted he was not convinced about whether there was enough self-belief within his squad, half-back Will Genia answered that question emphatically.
“We want to win,” said Genia, when asked what a pass mark would be for the Wallabies this tournament.
The biggest hurdle for us is to believe that we actually deserve to go on and do something.
Cheika has challenged his squad over how much they wanted to become the third Wallabies team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup and follow in the footsteps of Nick Farr-Jones’ 1991 team and the 1999 squad led by John Eales.
“The biggest hurdle for us is to believe that we actually deserve to go on and do something,” Genia said.
“I think that self-belief is a key factor for us now to go on. Because, maybe at this stage, we still don’t believe enough.”
In the wake of their fortuitous escape against Scotland, Cheika is understood to have asked each player whether they believe the team can go on and achieve World Cup glory.
Based on Genia’s forthright response, there is little doubt the belief exists.
“I genuinely believe,” Genia said.
“What [Cheika is] trying to get at is that if you think you won’t [succeed], you won’t.
“You’ve got to eliminate all doubts and think you deserve to win it because you’ve done the hard work.
“You’ve got to believe you can win it – you can go all the way. That way, you take out any doubts.”