Eddie Jones insists that England will prepare as if David Pocock will start in the second Test on Saturday, even though Australia head coach Michael Cheika said on Sunday that the No 8 had been ruled out of the series with a fractured eye socket.
Jones, who has been angered at reception of his squad by the Australia media, on Monday received an apology from the former Wallabies flanker Stephen Hoiles for asking an crude question in a press conference that appeared to contain a sexual innuendo.
The England head coach claims his squad were being subjected to a "orchestrated campaign" and even appeared to cast doubt about the extent of Pocock's injury. Cheika said on Sunday that Pocock would be sidelined for four to six weeks.
"Pocock is certainly a good player and we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery," said Jones. "I just hope he doesn't recover in time for Saturday and you never know."
Asked if he was serious, Jones added: "Well you never know. You never know.
Jones added later: "I don't know if he [Pocock] is going to be in or out mate. We will prepare as though he is going to play."
Jones also dismissed claims by former Australia hooker Phil Kearns that England's tighthead prop Dan Cole had been scrummaging illegally during the first Test on Saturday night. Cole's dominance culminated in Australian loosehead prop Scott Sio being sent to the sin bin.
But Kearns, a double World Cup-winner, said referee Romain Poite had allowed Cole to get away with boring in at scrum-time.
"Yes (Sio) was (the villain), he was the one that was penalised," said Kearns. "It will be interesting if the referees - I'm not sure if they go back and watch 'Spider-cam' at all, but Dan Cole was angling right in the whole time.
"It's pretty obvious to see. Yeah, Scotty Sio didn't have his best scrummaging performance and Cole was dominant but referees, take a good, long, hard look at yourself."
Jones insisted however that this Saturday's referee, the South African Craig Joubert, would not be influenced by Kearns's comments.
"Phil is part of an organised campaign and he is playing his role," Jones added. "And he is playing a very good role. We are lucky we have got a fantastic referee at the weekend.
"Craig Joubert has refereed at least one World Cup final and is one of the most respected referees in the world. He has refereed 15s and he has refereed 7s. I am sure he will be able to referee the scrums well. But I am sure he will appreciate the advice Phil has given him. I am sure he will.
"Every couple of days someone comes up with something. I have been part of it, I know how it works. So let's not beat around the bush, we know how it works here and everyone is entitled to their opinion."
James Haskell Courtney Lawes and Mike Brown did not take part in training in Melbourne on Monday but the rest was precautionary and the trio are all expected to train on Wednesday.