Wallabies enforcer Lachie Swinton admits he is no closer to a return to play as his shoulder is not responding to treatment for nerve damage.
The NSW loose-forward has not played since the opening round of Super Rugby, but was on deck at the SCG to promote the Wallabies’ upcoming series against England.
Six years after Eddie Jones masterminded England’s series whitewash over his old teammate Michael Cheika, the former Randwick coach will bring the under pressure powerhouse Down Under for another three-match series.
The finale will be played at the SCG – the first time the Wallabies have played at the venue since 1986 – on July 16.
Stream Over 50 Sports Live & On-Demand with Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
It’s unlikely Swinton will take part in the series, with doctors to wait until the end of next month before making a decision on his unresponsive shoulder.
Swinton said the 10-week wait on the sidelines was breaking him.
“The big point is I’m not playing and out there doing what I love doing,” he said.
“For me, not doing that does break me a lot. I’m trying to focus and channel my energy into developing myself athletically and in other aspects, and I think that’s going really well. Whenever this comes right, I’m going to be a better player for it.”
Meanwhile, Rugby Australia is keeping the door ajar for Tolu Latu to make a sensational return ahead of next year’s World Cup.
The rumour mill was in overdrive on Thursday after French reports suggested Latu – one of the Wallabies’ best at the 2019 World Cup – was heading back to Sydney.
The 29-year-old, who played his 21st Test on the Wallabies’ spring tour last year after being called up following a tweak in the eligibility laws, is likely to be let go from his Paris side after ill-discipline on and off the field.
Latu might be a ticking time bomb, but with no-one commanding the No.2 jersey for the Wallabies, RA will be tempted to hand the former Waratah a lifeline.
But the issue is the Waratahs are set to announce that Dave Porecki, who is firming to make his Test debut, has re-signed.
Elsewhere, the Brumbies and Force are well stocked with hookers, while Brad Thorn would need to do a major backflip to welcome Latu to the Reds like he previously did with James O’Connor.
The Rebels could be an option, especially if Jordan Uelese heads overseas, but as one Super Rugby coach pointed out, Latu needs to get his head right off the field.
Former Wallabies forwards coach Simon Raiwalui said Latu was “world class” and a “good man” who worked extremely hard to get himself in the right place, on and off the field, ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
RA chief executive Andy Marinos, meanwhile, did not put a line through Latu’s name, as he pointed out the dearth of world-class rakes in Australian rugby.
“(We are) probably a little bit short at this point in time at hooker,” he said.
“I don’t think any player’s off the table.
“We’ll keep an open mind on players. We want to be as competitive as we can going into the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, NRL recruit Suliasi Vunivalu continues to be haunted by hamstring problems, with the star winger a late withdrawal from the Queensland Reds side to meet the Chiefs in Friday night’s Super Rugby Pacific clash at Suncorp Stadium.
“He has a little bit of tightness around his hamstring so we’re just making sure he’s in a good space with that,” Thorn said.