A quartet of injured Brumbies will be given until late in the week to prove their fitness for Sunday morning’s clash with the Durban Sharks.
The Canberra Times reports that Brumbies coach Andy Friend is likely to name Stirling Mortlock (corked thighs), Adam Ashley-Cooper (bruised ribs), Julian Salvi (corked thigh) and Mark Gerrard (elbow) in his team for the round seven Super14 clash at Absa Stadium.
But not all four are guaranteed to be fit to play.
Mortlock is in the biggest danger of missing out. The 31-year-old suffered two corked thighs in last weekend’s 25-17 loss to the Johannesburg Lions at Ellis Park.
There were initial fears that Mortlock had seriously injured his right knee. But medical reviews yesterday morning revealed it was only two badly corked thighs.
Mortlock was walking freely around the team hotel yesterday but a decision on his availability will be withheld until later in the week.
Brumbies doctor Warren McDonald expected Mortlock to recover sufficiently to face the Sharks but warned it was no guarantee.
“Clinically he’s actually pulled up reasonably well, better than we were all expecting really, but we’ll still monitor him very closely for the next 48 hours or so,” he said.
“What people saw on the replay was he was hit on his right side but as a result of the tackle, his right side impacted on his left side and that’s how he copped the double cork.
“He tried to kick a ball late in the game but soon realised he couldn’t take any weight on either leg so that’s when he knew he had to come off.
“It could have been a whole lot worse so we’re all grateful it’s not so bad.”
Mortlock, Ashley-Cooper and Salvi all left the field during the Lions match as a result of their injuries.
Gerrard had to stay on the ground due to a lack of replacement options.
Ashley-Cooper’s exit in the 69th minute and Mortlock’s three minutes later led to a largely unfamiliar Brumbies backline by the end of the game.
Matt Toomua was flyhalf, Christian Lealiifano was inside centre, Tyrone Smith outside centre and Josh Holmes on a wing.
Should Mortlock fail to recover from his injuries, Friend would likely move Ashley-Cooper to outside centre, elevate Clyde Rathbone to start on a wing and promote Gene Fairbanks to the bench.
Ashley-Cooper initially suffered his rib injury when playing against the Waratahs 11 nights ago.
“But I’m fine,” the utility back said. “I’ll be sweet as to play the Sharks and I’m really looking forward to it. It was more a precautionary thing, taking me off against the Lions.
“The injury was niggling me all week and it just progressed during the game so we figured I was better off the field than on it.”
The Brumbies arrived in Durban yesterday.
They will have their first training session of the week today, but the injured quartet will have restricted loads.Tweet