SYDNEY - The Bledisloe Cup may well have been decided for another year before trusty halves Quade Cooper and Will Genia are available for the Wallabies again.
Both stars were omitted from Australia's 32-man squad for the Rugby Championship, with Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie revealing Genia was "a way off" returning from ankle surgery.
Cooper, who underwent hip and shoulder surgery in May, was always going to struggle to make it back until late in the Rugby Championship, but it had been hoped Genia would be available for the second Bledisloe clash on August 23 in Auckland, if not quite the first a week earlier in Sydney.
The 55-Test veteran had ankle surgery in June.
McKenzie, though, on Wednesday revealed Genia was only just running again.
"It's very much at the front-end of running, just getting back," he said.
"He's had a couple of running sessions so he's moving along but he's still a way off being able to play a game.
"He's still got to get through a complete training (session) at 100 per cent capacity.
"So we'll just keep tracking that."
Cooper and Genia are the only halves pairing to have tasted Test-match success over the top-ranked All Blacks in the past five years.
But even when Genia is back available for selection, Cooper will be at least two or three Tests behind his Queensland Reds teammate after initially being told he'd need 16 weeks to rehabilitate.