The New Zealand 'All Blacks' train and discuss Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France.
Know more about Sport360 Application
Australia stars David Pocock and Israel Folau have lost their fitness battles ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final against Scotland at Twickenham.
Pocock has been ruled out by a calf problem sustained in the 15-6 victory over Wales last weekend and is replaced by Ben McCalman at number eight.
Folau suffered an ankle complaint in the same Pool A game and makes away for Kurtley Beale at full-back with Quade Cooper promoted to the bench.
Michael Hooper returns from suspension to start at openside flanker while lock Rob Simmons is drafted into the starting XV, displacing Dean Mumm.
No sense @Wallabies playing Folau, was clearly affected by ankle injury on high balls last week. Beale a fine replacement.
— Sam Bruce (@Sambruce86) October 16, 2015
Captain Stephen Moore and centre Matt Giteau will become the seventh and eighth Wallabies to make 100 international appearances when they line up against the Scots.
“Those lads don’t need to have played 100 games for Australia to have the respect from me and the other players in the team,” head coach Michael Cheika said. “It’s what they do in training every day, how hard they work and what they’re prepared to sacrifice that sets them apart.”
Australia thumped England by a record score at Twickenham and edged Wales at the same venue, but Cheika insists Scotland will be the Wallabies’ most dangerous foes yet.
“This will be the most difficult game we play and that’s not disrespecting our other opponents at all because every match has been tough, but this will be the toughest,” Cheika said.
“There’s going to be a lot of pain, it’s going to be physical and I want the players to enjoy that as well because that’s when it’s worth it.
“Guarding against complacency is pretty easy because we don’t think we are complacent. We’re acutely aware that this is really important for our own journey as a team. I’ve seen a lot of the Scottish players saying they can win – and they can, they can.”
Joe Schmidt has insisted there is no risk in throwing Johnny Sexton into Ireland’s last-eight match with Argentina despite the fly-half’s lingering groin injury.
Ireland have opted to gamble on throwing in their linchpin fly-half from the start against the Pumas in Cardiff, even though the Leinster pivot has fought a fitness battle all week.
Sexton trudged out of Ireland’s 24-9 victory over France at the Millennium Stadium after just 25 minutes last weekend, then immediately set about working to be ready for Sunday.
While Ireland have named their premier playmaker in their starting line-up, the 30-year-old will still most likely use all the available time to ensure his groin issue has healed completely.
Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton passed fit to start in World Cup quarter final against Argentina – more details on #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) October 16, 2015
When asked if selecting Sexton carried any risk, Ireland head coach Schmidt insisted: “Not really. If he’s fit he’s fit. We don’t tend to take too many risks with injured players. But there are always risks in everything you do.
“We’ve allowed Johnny to build his way back into the week. He had a fairly light start to the week but trained fully this morning.
“And we feel he’s ready to go. It’s been a very light training week, we’ve got a few guys carrying bumps and bruises. But we’ve got 48 hours more to freshen.”
Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade claims his side won’t be directly targeting Sexton, under the mistaken belief the No. 10 won’t be fully fit and therefore not as influential.
“They are a team that we respect a lot but they have weak points and we’re going to attack them through those,” said Hourcade.
“If he plays it’s because he’s okay. And we prepare the game thinking it’s the best team of Ireland, and that’s with Sexton 100 per cent.
“We consider Sexton is 100 per cent fit, so it would be perhaps a mistake to go and try to find him. He can surprise you, because he’s a good player. We cannot just focus on him, thinking that he’s not fit.”