25 Jun 2011

Injury plagues Wallabies' World Cup build-up

6:58 am on 25 June 2011

The Wallabies are staring at an injury-interrupted build-up to the Rugby World Cup, with almost 20 per cent of the eventual Australian squad set to play just one, or even none, of the five Tests leading up to the tournament.

Prop James Slipper, hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, No.8 Wycliff Palu and halfback Luke Burgess are all out for six to eight weeks, while winger Drew Mitchell is already battling to be fit for the tournament starting in September.

Australia's international campaign starts against Samoa in Sydney on July 17th and selectors will announce a 40-man squad six days earlier, and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans admits there's likely to be some players chosen in the RWC squad on August 18th who will have missed all five lead-up Tests.

The Wallabies play four Tri-Nations Tests, the last against New Zealand in Brisbane on August 27th, just two weeks before Australia's first RWC game against Italy in Auckland.