The Wallabies have suffered a late casualty on the eve of their second Rugby Championship match against Argentina, losing hooker Folau Fainga’a to concussion.
Lachlan Lonergan will make his first Test start in place of Fainga’a. Billy Pollard has been drafted into the team and could make his debut from the bench.
Fainga’a copped a blow to the head in trailing and subsequently failed a concussion test on Friday.
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It’s the latest in a string of injuries for the Wallabies and the third head injury-related incident after Dave Porecki and Hunter Paisami suffered concussions.
The team is also without Quade Cooper who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the opening Test against Argentina.
Allan Ala’alatoa flew home following the first Test due to a family bereavement while Michael Hooper is on leave to focus on his mental health.
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It’s been a bruising month or so for the Wallabies, who were dogged by injuries in the three-match Test series against England.
In Hooper’s absence, James Slipper has captained the side.
Asked if the team was getting used to last-minute changes, Slipper said, « I’d have to say yes. We’re definitely getting used to it. »
Pollard comes into the side with just eight Super Rugby matches for the Brumbies but has been a fixture of the Australia A side that played in the Pacific Cup.
Nevertheless, Slipper said he’s optimistic that Pollard will be up to the challenge should he come off the bench.
« One thing we do have is a lot of confidence in Billy, » said Slipper.
« He only got here half a week ago. I’m not even sure if he’s got rugby boots yet. He’s a player of the future and one thing I know about Bill is he’ll turn up for sure. »
The Wallabies won their opening Test of the Rugby Championship against Argentina, defeating the home side 41–26.
The two sides will go head-to-head on Sunday at 5:10am at Estadio del Bicentenario, San Juan.
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