Sydney - Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper has been given the all-clear to play their next Rugby Championship match against South Africa despite a small fracture, but winger Drew Mitchell is ruled out.
A scan confirmed Cooper is suffering from a fracture in the lateral tibia, or leg bone, after aggravating it during the 22-0 thrashing by New Zealand at Eden Park last weekend.
But the Australian Rugby Union said he should recover in time for their third Rugby Championship clash with the Springboks in Perth on September 8. “While the injury will be closely monitored, Wallabies medical staff anticipate that it will settle quickly, and it isn't expected to impact on Cooper's availability,” the ARU said in a statement.
His availability is a rare piece of good news for under-pressure coach Robbie Deans, who was forced to deflect questions about his job after the Auckland setback.
Among those already ruled out of the Perth Test are David Pocock, James Horwill, James O'Connor, Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu, Pat McCabe and Ben McCalman.
Winger Drew Mitchell joined the casualty list on Wednesday after rupturing an ankle tendon in the defeat by the All Blacks.
Mitchell will have surgery after an ultrasound confirmed a rupture of the tibialis posterior tendon in his right leg.
“The recovery time for the NSW Waratahs winger is uncertain at this point and won't be determined until after the surgery takes place,” the ARU said.
However, Mitchell on Tuesday told reporters he feared being out of action for up to a year.
The Waratahs star missed most of last year's Super 15 campaign with an ankle problem and needed intensive rehabilitation to reach the World Cup, only to pick up a hamstring injury in the pool win against Russia.
He then missed much of this year's Super rugby season after further problems with his ankle.