A foot injury has ruled Reds scrumhalf Sam Cordingley out of the Wallabies tour of Europe.
Cordingley’s withdrawal means that Australia will travel without their two first choice scrumhalves, with captain George Gregan being rested for the 2007 season. Cordingley’s decision to pull out hasn’t been a hasty one, as he has been carrying the ailment since the England Test in June.
“I’ve given it two days [on the training paddock] and I’m still not moving the way I would like or with the confidence that I would like,” he said.
“It’s progressed slowly with treatment but at the moment it’s still about 70 per cent and I had a choice to either push it and see if I got through the tour, or stay behind and get the injury properly attended to before next season.
“I don’t think I could get through the training load, let alone the four Tests.
New Waratahs man Josh Valentine will join the Wallabies for preparation at Coffs Harbour today. Besides Brett Sheehan, the Aussies’ other option at No 9 is Matt Giteau, whose chances of playing in the position may have increased significantly with this development.
Cordingley (30) is now looking at the Vodacom Super 14 as a final chance to stake his claim for a World Cup berth. He realises the opportunity he has missed in being unfit for this European tour.
“The fact that I had an opportunity to bed down the No.9 jersey on the tour made the decision to back out a very difficult one,” he said.
“Having said that, I didn’t want to go on the tour and not be able to perform my best.
“There was a big risk that I could have done more damage to the foot, which potentially would have set me back quite a long way leading into the World Cup year, but more importantly it wouldn’t have been fair on the team.”
Some good news for the Wallabies is that winger Drew Mitchell should be ready to resume contact training in a couple of weeks. Mitchell damaged his jaw when he clashed with Clyde Rahbone in a contact drill, but the Australian medical staff have confirmed that he will not need surgery and should be fit to tour.