Wallabies and Queensland Reds captain James Horwill.
Wallabies and Queensland Reds captain James Horwill.

Prognosis is not good for Horwill

JAMES Horwill may have made his last tackle this season.

The Australian and Queensland captain will see a specialist in Melbourne today about the hamstring he injured playing against the Brumbies in Canberra last month, but the prognosis is not looking good.

"We're still discussing the best course of action, but hopefully I'll have a clearer idea after getting another opinion from this specialist on hamstrings," Howill told the Australian newspaper. "I can't see myself playing for the Reds again this year which is a shame because we have three pretty important games to play to get into the Super Rugby finals.

"I'm told the length of the recovery time in these types of cases is very much dependent on the individual but most people are advising me it will be three to six months. At this stage we're hoping there is no need for surgery but the main issue is to just get it right.

"The worst-case scenario is that I'm out for the rest of the year. I'd like to play as early as I can but if it's no good I've just got to spend the time getting it right."

If Horwill is ruled out for the year, meaning he'll miss the Rugby Championship, the old Tri-Nations format which has been expanded this year to include Argentina, that David Pocock will continue to wear the captain's armband.

It's a job he says he's only looking after for Horwill.

"I'm enjoying it at the moment, but nothing's changed," Pocock said. "James Horwill is captain of the Wallabies and I'm standing in for him while he's injured."

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has named an unchanged team for Saturday's second Test against Wales in Melbourne.

Despite concerns over the fitness of Sekope Kepu, after he strained a tendon in his forearm during last weekend's 27-19 win over Wales in the first match of the series, the tighthead prop has been named subject to proving his fitness later in the week.

Kepu completed the full 80 minutes at Suncorp Stadium before reporting the injury once he had cooled down following the game.

"We are hopeful that 'Keps' will be good to go, but we do have a contingency plan in place if we need it," Deans said. "There are five props in the group we have with us in Melbourne so we saw no need in bringing anyone extra in."

WALLABIES: Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW), Cooper Vuna (Melbourne), Rob Horne (NSW), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Digby Ioane (Queensland), Berrick Barnes (NSW), Will Genia (Queensland), Wycliff Palu (NSW), David Pocock (captain, Force), Scott Higginbotham (Queensland), Nathan Sharpe (Force), Rob Simmons (Queensland), Sekope Kepu (NSW), Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW), Benn Robinson (NSW).

Reserves: Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Dave Dennis (NSW), Michael Hooper (Brumbies), Nic White (Brumbies), Anthony Fainga'a (Queensland), Mike Harris (Queensland).