Wallabies braced for backline blow

Australia look set to lose two key backline players for the year-end tour.

A late Quade Cooper try spared their blushes against Italy, but the narrow 30-20 win came at a cost, with Berrick Barnes and Timana Tahu on the verge of being sent home.

Barnes’ knee blew out less than 20 minutes into the Test, while Tahu sustained what initially looks to be a serious hamstring injury.

Barnes and Tahu will have scans in London on Monday ahead of the Test against England. However, both are likely to miss the Twickenham clash and indeed the remainder of the tour.

“For Berrick, it looks like his injury could be significant, but the detail of which we won’t know until we get an MRI scan,” Wallaby coach Robbie Deans said.

Barnes’ injury leaves the Wallabies short of experienced cover for flyhalf Matt Giteau while Tahu’s imminent departure depletes the midfield depth.