WALLABIES star Quade Cooper is the latest big name to be a doubt for Australia’s autumn tour of Europe, which includes a showdown with Wales.
Last year’s Tri Nations champions are struggling badly to retain their crown in the tournament’s revamped Rugby Championship format this season, a crippling injury list no doubt a major factor.
Maverick outside half Cooper is to undergo surgery on his right knee and misses the remainder of the competition which sees the Wallabies trail table toppers New Zealand but in front of South Africa and tournament new boys Argentina respectively.
He picked up his injury during the Wallabies’ hard-fought 23-19 win over Argentina on Saturday after the plucky Pumas came agonisingly close to victory, leading by 13 points in the second half.
Problems with his right knee continue to dog the 24-year-old Cooper, this being the second time in three months he has been forced out of his country’s squad because of it.
Playmaker Will Genia will definitely miss the Wales game, the gifted scrum half out for six months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee in Australia’s home victory over South Africa earlier this month.
The recovery of talisman David Pocock, star of the Wallabies’ 3-0 whitewash of Grand Slam-winning Wales over the summer, is also causing a headache for his coach Robbie Deans.
After undergoing keyhole surgery on cartilage in his right knee in August, the openside flanker is expected to be sidelined for at least two more months.
This means he is all but out of their tour of Europe which sees them clash with England and Italy before facing Wales on Saturday, December 1, at the Millennium Stadium.
Pocock had been standing in as skipper for lock James Horwill, the giant Queensland Reds second row fighting back from a long-term hamstring injury.
Wales’ chronic track record against Australia under head coach Warren Gatland and his caretaker Robert Howley has seen them record just one victory in eight attempts.