Rugby-Prop Sio joins Australia injury list ahead of France series

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia prop Scott Sio has been ruled out of the France series after suffering a hamstring strain at training.

Sio joins a growing list of injured Wallabies, including starting scrumhalf and ACT Brumbies team mate Nic White, who was scratched from the three-test series last week with a knee injury.

Melbourne Rebels prop Cameron Orr comes into the squad as a replacement for Sio ahead of the series-opening test in Brisbane on July 7.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is already battling injuries on a number of fronts, with playmakers James O'Connor and Matt Toomua in doubt for the series-opener.

Backup scrumhalf Jake Gordon is also recovering from a knee problem.

O'Connor has struggled with a neck injury for weeks and had only limited involvement in training at the Wallabies camp on the Gold Coast, his Queensland Reds team mate Tate McDermott said on Tuesday.

"I’m not sure where he is at, to be honest,” two-test scrumhalf McDermott told reporters of O'Connor's recovery.

"He's definitely been around a lot and he was running the other day."

Australia shifted the first test from Sydney to Brisbane last week after authorities put Sydney and surrounding regions under a two-week lockdown to control an outbreak of COVID-19.

Brisbane, which is also to host the third test on July 17, will go into a snap three-day lockdown later on Tuesday after the Queensland state government reported two new local cases.

The Wallabies had to undergo two weeks in hotel quarantine in New Zealand last year before opening their season against the All Blacks, so the playing group would be well prepared for any new COVID restrictions, McDermott said.

"The biggest thing for us is a lot of guys were on the camp last year are back here so in terms of spanners being thrown, we’re all pretty used to it,” he added.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Editing by Peter Rutherford)