Luckless Western Force young gun Kyle Godwin has been ruled out of the Wallabies squad to be named on Thursday with a knee injury.
Rising star Kyle Godwin’s bad luck has continued with injury costing him Wallabies selection for the second time in 10 months.
Zimbabwe-born centre Godwin’s form with the Western Force had him poised to gain a well-deserved call-up on Thursday to Australia’s 32-man squad for next month’s three-Test series against France.
But the 21-year-old’s knee injury, which sidelined him from the weekend’s Super Rugby loss to the Stormers in Cape Town, is worse than first thought.
Godwin has a low-grade ligament tear which keeps him out until the Test window and the Wallabies medical staff want to take a conservative approach to a young talent with plenty of potential.
It’s a dire blow considering the 2012 Australian under 20s playmaker appeared a certain selection for coach Ewen McKenzie last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Godwin’s absence and the dearth of available specialist wingers around the country opens the door for Melbourne Rebels flyer Tom English to be a squad bolter among a handful of uncapped selections.
English is in the mix with NSW utility Rob Horne and pint-sized Robbie Coleman to join incumbent Nick Cummins with Joe Tomane and Chris Feauai-Sautia injured and Fiji-born Henry Speight ineligible until September.
The Rebels may even provide two bolters with former Chiefs’ loose-head Toby Smith in line to take a front-row spot in his first season in Australia, possibly at the cost of veteran Benn Robinson.
Giant Waratah Will Skelton is the most likely uncapped player to get a call-up as the first of two new locks added to fill the second-row cupboard, made more bare by Kane Douglas signing with Irish club Leinster.
Rebels duo Luke Jones and Cadeyrn Neville and Force skyscraper Adam Coleman are all vying for the other spot to back up incumbents James Horwill and Rob Simmons.
McKenzie has mulled over plenty of 50-50 calls for his first squad of the year but the most contentious – captaincy – won’t be one he reveals on Thursday.
With two more rounds of Super Rugby action in between, he will leave it leader-less until the week of the opening clash in Brisbane on June 7.
The choice is boiling down to one between the old and the new with stalwart hooker Stephen Moore, 31, and boom flanker Michael Hooper, 22, frontrunners to take the duties given up by France-bound Ben Mowen.
Even without Mowen, No.8 is the most contentious Wallabies position with the good form of Ben McCalman and Scott Higginbotham putting Wycliff Palu and Dave Dennis on shaky ground.
In one of many tight calls, McCalman’s back-row partner Matt Hodgson’s stellar year could see injury-hit Reds flanker Liam Gill dropped as Hooper’s No.7 back-up.
Possible Wallabies squad:
Backs – Israel Folau, Jesse Mogg, Nick Cummins, Tom English, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Nic White, Nick Phipps.
Forwards – Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Michael Hooper, Matt Hodgson, Scott Fardy, Dave Dennis, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Luke Jones, Ben Alexander, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, Scott Sio, Toby Smith, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nathan Charles.