Rugby World Cup 2011
Ioane ready to be unleashed
October 3, 2011
Ioane sustained a broken thumb in Australia's opening clash of the World Cup © Getty Images
Wallabies winger Digby Ioane looks set to return for Australia in their quarter-final showdown with the Springboks on Sunday after recovering from a broken thumb.
Ioane, who suffered the injury in the opening Pool C against Italy on September 11, had surgery on his hand and had now sufficiently recovered to play, according to Australia's coaching co-ordinator David Nucifora. Nucifora said: "He's fine to go, he'll be training with us (during the week), so I don't think there's any more boxes he has to tick. He'll be right."
Australia play South Africa in the knockout match at Wellington Regional Stadium on October 9 but Wallabies captain James Horwill said there will be no need to ease Ioane back into the fray. "He's one of those guys that whenever the opportunity arises, he's good to go," Horwill said, having witnessed Ioane's recuperative powers first-hand at the Queensland Reds, where the winger's all-or-nothing approach has sidelined him several times, only for him to be back in action again faster than most.
"He doesn't need any warm-ups (preparatory matches) or anything like that," Horwill said. "He prepares himself well enough - when he is unfortunately injured - to hit the ground running when the time arises."
Australia will need Ioane fit after losing wing Drew Mitchell, who has returned home with a hamstring injury. Replacement wing Lachie Turner arrived in Wellington on Monday with forward Matt Hodgson, who replaces Wycliff Palu (hamstring). Nucifora said other than Mitchell's loss, the Wallabies were in "pretty good shape." "We've come through the match (against Russia) pretty well and we've got the majority of our other players, bar (centre) Rob Horne, available for selection this week."
Meanwhile skipper Horwill concedes that the Wallabies previous good run of form against the Boks will count for nothing when the pair collides in Wellington. "Everyone has spoken about the fact that this is different," Horwill said. "World Cups are different. It's a tournament. It's knockout. This is it.
"You can put all history behind you. This is a game we need to win. It's a quarter-final against the Springboks. It's a huge occasion."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.