Mixed injury news for Wallabies props
THE Wallabies are sweating on the fitness of rampaging prop Taniela Tupou ahead of Saturday's second Bledisloe Cup Test, with his chances rated only 50-50 after sitting out training early this week.
Tupou was a late withdrawal from last weekend's 38-13 loss to New Zealand at ANZ Stadium, and his damaging ball-running and scrummaging was sorely missed as the Kiwis piled on five second half tries.
Tupou did some scrum training on Tuesday but sat out the rest of the session nursing his hamstring strain, while starting tighthead prop Sekope Kepu also remained sidelined with a nasty cut under his eye.
Loose-head prop Scott Sio, who also missed last week's Test, did train and is tipped to play this Saturday at Eden Park.
All will need to get through Thursday's big training session at Waiheke Island to be considered for the match.
"Keps has just got a cut under his eye which is a bit nasty, he has the stitches right under his eye lid or inside," coach Michael Cheika said.
" (Tupou) scrimmaged and he did lineouts and we have a plan for him and where he should be. I would say he's about 50-50 at this point but he's been rehab running.
" (Sio) I think he's more likely."
Jermaine Ainsley was Tupou's replacement last week but in his first scrum the All Blacks pushed the Wallabies backwards and were given a penalty.
Kepu was also penalised several times for collapsing.
If Sio is fit, Cheika must weigh up whether to bring him straight into the starting side for Tom Robertson, who wore the No. 1 jersey last week.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks will be far more settled, likely starting with the same forward pack while replacing injured backs Ryan Crotty and Rieko Ioane with Anton Lienert-Brown and Nehe Milner-Skudder respectively.
LIKELY WALLABIES TEAM:
15. Dane Haylett-Petty 14. Jack Maddocks 13. Reece Hodge 12. Kurtley Beale 11. Marika Koroibete 10. Bernard Foley 9. Will Genia 8. David Pocock 7. Michael Hooper (captain) 6. Lukhan Tui 5. Adam Coleman 4. Izack Rodda 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Tolu Latu 1. Scott Sio.
Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. Tom Roberston 18. Allan Alaalatoa 19. Rob Simmons 20. Peter Samu 21. Nick Phipps 22. Matt Toomua 23. Tom Banks.
LIKELY ALL BLACKS TEAM:
15. Ben Smith 14. Waisake Naholo 13. Jack Goodhue 12. Anton Lienert-Brown 11. Nehe Milner-Skudder 10. Beauden Barrett 9. Aaron Smith 8. Kieran Read (captain) 7. Sam Cane 6. Liam Squire 5. Sam Whitelock 4. Brodie Rettalick 3. Owen Franks 2. Codie Taylor 1. Joe Moody.
Reserves: 16. Nathan Harris 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe 18. Tim Perry 19. Scott Barrett 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Damian McKenzie 23. Ngani Laumape.