The Brumbies are hopeful Wallabies back-rower Scott Fardy will be fit to take on the Western Force in their final regular-season Super Rugby match on Saturday in Canberra.
Fardy was battered in last week’s devastating loss to the Blues in Auckland and needed stitches to the top of his head and under his chin.
He is also nursing a sore shoulder and hasn’t fully participated in training.
“I’m pretty sure Fards is fine,” prop Ruan Smith said on Tuesday.
“He looks alright. I think he’s just sitting out as a precaution and to rest up a bit.
“We’ll see when the team gets announced.”
Smith – in line to make his 50th Super Rugby appearance this weekend – said if Fardy didn’t recover in time, it was better now than during the finals.
He backed the Brumbies’ young crew, who’d rarely had a chance behind Fardy given he’d played 80 minutes in most games this season, to step up in his absence if need be.
“Tom Staniforth covered the back-row last week against the Blues; he got on playing at No.6 when Fards went off,” he said.
“That will give guys like him – who usually plays lock – confidence and create a bit of depth.”
The ACT franchise already have a full casualty ward, with France-bound Joe Tomane ruled out for up to eight weeks with a fractured tibia, David Pocock sidelined with a fractured eye socket and Jordan Smiler has an injured knee.
Tomane had already spent the past two-and-a-half months recovering from a knee injury, only to hurt himself again in a comeback match in club rugby on Saturday to bring a premature end to his time in Canberra.
It does, however, open the door for Nigel Ah Wong who has stepped up in his absence on the wing.
The Brumbies are yet to sign him beyond 2016 but the 26-year-old isn’t looking at Saturday’s clash as an opportunity to shore up his future.
“It is somewhere where I would like to spend at lot of my future,” he added.
The Brumbies lead the Australian conference but remain equal on points with the NSW Waratahs, who play the Blues on Friday night Auckland.
The outcome of that match will all but determine which side secures Australia’s sole finals berth.