Coleman’s hoping for thumbs up for Test
RUGBY UNION: Pack enforcer Adam Coleman faces a crucial fitness test today which will decide whether the Wallabies throw a powerful clenched fist at England or a hopeful haymaker at their Twickenham fortress.
Australia’s top lock took no part in Monday’s session because of the thumb injury sustained against Wales last weekend and upgraded his involvement only slightly on Tuesday when he ran with the team to open training.
Bypassing a kick-catching drill and holding a limbo-style pole, set up to assist teammates through a thumping session of low cleanouts into padded shields, was aimed at keeping the digit away from a friendly-fire incident. The 20-Test Coleman is essential to the mood and aggression of the Wallabies pack and playing an inexperienced alternative would seriously diminish the chances on Saturday of redressing the ugly 0-4 run in Tests against England last year.
Assistant coach Steve Larkham was upbeat when quizzed whether Coleman (pictured) was certain to play.
“He pulled up really well out of the game,” Larkham said.
“We’re just making sure that we do right by him so he’s certainly on track to play.”
There’s no Wallaby who can replace the 15 dominant tackles that Coleman hurls into every outing, his big dog persona or his lineout acumen beside stalwart Rob Simmons.
What complicates the critical Coleman case is impressive Lukhan Tui still being touch-and-go to return from the hamstring injury that has sidelined the young back-up lock from the opening two Tests of the tour.
He is a wait-and-see case as well which pitches raw-boned Matt Philip into the frame as a possible starter on the strength of just 33 minutes of Test rugby from his two go-forward Test cameos.
Uncapped Brumby Blake Enever would then be an underpowered bolter for the bench to match-up against an England team which will likely load its formidable starting pack with three locks, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis and Maro Itoje.
The significant selection call is at inside centre where Karmichael Hunt’s extra versatility is being weighed up as a swap for Samu Kerevi.