MELBOURNE, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Australia fullback Israel Folau rates himself only a “50-50” chance to line up against South Africa in the Rugby Championship in Brisbane on Saturday as he races to recover from an ankle injury.
Folau missed the Wallabies’ second round defeat by the All Blacks in Auckland just over a week ago after limping off in the opener in Sydney on Aug. 18.
Although named in Michael Cheika’s squad for the Springboks clash at Lang Park and the following test against Argentina, the Wallabies’ attacking weapon said he still needed to pass fitness tests.
“At this stage I’d say it’s 50-50. I’ve only had one run on Friday,” Folau told reporters in Brisbane on Monday.
“I guess I’ll know more as the week goes on. Today will be the second day when I’ll have a crack at running and see how it goes.
“I’ll start off with the medical team and get my rehab done in terms of change of direction and that sort of thing and then whatever they feel I can do with the team I’ll do that.”
Yet to register a point after back-to-back thrashings by the defending champions New Zealand, the Wallabies are bottom of the competition’s standings and coach Cheika is under pressure.
Australia have not lost to South Africa on home soil since a 38-12 loss in Brisbane in 2013 and will be keen to rebuild morale after the confidence-sapping start to the championship.
Folau said they would hope to work on their scramble defence after being exposed on the counterattack against the All Blacks in both their previous matches.
“It’s probably a sense of urgency and the guys needing to work together,” he said.
“We can fix that, I think the guys are really keen to get out there and start running around and put those things in place.
“You get moments where guys switch off and don’t have the urgency to kill that play straight away and it’s probably just making sure we’re all on the same page. “
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford