Palu confident of fitness ahead of Cup - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Palu confident of fitness ahead of Cup

Angela Habashy and Darren Walton 18/08/2011 05:25:08 PM Comments (0)

Destructive No.8 Wycliff Palu is confident of being fully fit for Australia's opening Rugby World Cup clash despite not having played a game in over two months.

Palu hasn't played a Test since the 2009 spring tour of Japan and Europe due to a string of injuries and said his selection in coach Robbie Deans' 30-man World Cup squad on Thursday came as a "total shock".

In a measure of how high Deans rates Palu, Deans picked the 29-year-old knowing he may not even play before Australia open their campaign against Italy on September 11.

"It came as a surprise obviously," Palu said.

"I wasn't expecting to get a call-up but I'm pretty happy to be in the squad and I'm looking forward to it."

Palu suffered a cracked shoulder blade in his comeback Super Rugby clash for the NSW Waratahs against the Highlanders on June 11, while minor knee surgery during his rehab this month put the bulldozing ball-runner under added pressure.

Deans has all but ruled Palu out of the Australian Barbarians clash with Canada on the Gold Coast on Friday week.

The fixture will mark the return of Australia's other four rehabbing stars - winger Drew Mitchell (ankle), centre Rob Horne (elbow), hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) and James Slipper (ankle), with Deans to name his full side on Sunday.

Mitchell, who was in career-best form before breaking his ankle in April while playing for the Waratahs against the Queensland Reds, was also considered a long shot to make it back in time.

"It was never a clear thing whether I was going to make it back or not," Mitchell said.

"But I guess once I did the injury and we spoke to the surgeon the first time and he gave me a glimmer of hope, of course I was going to hold on to that.

"I mean, I've cut it pretty fine since I haven't played yet, but I'm obviously really thankful that they've shown some faith in my history that warrants my selection."

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