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Paul could miss Wallabies' tour

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SYDNEY, Australia -- First-choice hooker Jeremy Paul is a big doubt for the Wallabies' rugby tour of Europe in November after snapping a finger tendon, the Australian coach John Connolly said on Thursday.

Paul has been told he needs to have a finger reconstruction after breaking the tendon in a digit on his left hand.

He was injured during the 24-16 Tri-Nations' loss to South Africa in Johannesburg last weekend.

The ACT Brumbies' hooker is keen to hold on to his starting position in the national team after battling his way back into the first XV after being out of favor early in the season.

But team medical staff will have the final say on his availability for November's eight-match tour as playing could have lifestyle and performance repercussions.

"There's serious doubt with Jeremy Paul," coach Connolly said. "We think it needs a reconstruction.

"If he doesn't get it fixed his fist will lose power."

Brendan Cannon is tipped to take over if Paul is unfit to tour.

Cannon, 33, is preparing for his second game back after neck surgery in Friday's Australian Provincial Championship match for Western Force against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

Cannon's last Test was in the two-point loss to Wales last November.

Paul has battled back into the Wallabies first XV after being out of favor.

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