Australia injury toll mounts
Wellington - Australia were left reeling from a devastating injury toll after their 67-5 bonus-point victory over the United States which got their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track on Friday.
In a hard-hitting encounter, coach Robbie Deans saw his starting centres and a replacement midfielder all taken off with serious injuries as the Wallabies ran in 11 tries to one from the Americans in increasingly one-way traffic.
Rob Horne was first to depart the field, eight minutes into the second half, with a fractured cheekbone sustained in the first tackle he made in the match.
His replacement Pat McCabe then dislocated a shoulder in the 66th minute, although "it went back in pretty quick", according to Deans. His place on the pitch was taken by hooker Stephen Moore with no more backs on the bench.
Finally, outside centre Anthony Fainga'a, who scored a brace of tries, was knocked clean out when he took a knee to a head while attempting a tackle in the last minute of the game.
He received several minutes of on-field treatment before being taken off on a stretcher.
No 8 Wycliff Palu also suffered a hamstring problem while fullback Kurtley Beale was subbed at the end of the first period as a precaution after he "felt he was tightening up", Deans said.
"It's pretty extensive," the coach said of the injury count, not ruling out calling up a replacement or two.
"We may have to," the former All Black said. "We'll see what the medics say before we make that sort of decision.
"It's part of the game. Obviously it would be better to avoid them but that's how it happens."
Injury-toll aside, Deans was content with the performance of Berrick Barnes, who dropped into flyhalf as Quade Cooper moved to fullback in Beale's absence.
Barnes offered a steadying hand that had deserted the mercurial Cooper in the early stages of the match, although the Auckland-born playmaker showed some nice touches later in the game.
"Berrick played well, it was good to see him back out there," said Deans. "He kicked well so that was one positive. Some other players also got some rugby who haven't of late.
"We were pleased (with the result). It wasn't perfect, but there are elements in that game which we made good progress on.
"They maintained their momentum and approached the game with a slightly better mentality, with a bit more discipline in their decisions."
Deans praised his pack for making the most of a dominant set-piece, notably at scrum-time.
"They didn't chase the rainbow, they adjusted their approach and as a result put the pressure on. We got the ball in and applied the pressure," Deans said.
Paddler@24.com - 2011-09-23 14:55
I doubt the Boks will be too concerned! Lets just hope we come away from the Samoans unscathed!
Spike1977@24.com - 2011-09-23 15:26
I hope so too but it is highly unlikely. the Samoans are more physical than the AB's and need to win to qualify for the next round. I'm afraid if we get any kind if lead on them in the second half, they will get more physical as the game slips away. I think it might be a good time to give a 2nd stringers some game time off the bench.
bobbythebozo - 2011-09-23 16:15
Hmmm 2nd stringers off the bench? Not sure what all the hoohaa was yesterday about the boks "booking their place in the QF". If we lose to Samoa we could be out the tournament.....
odysseus - 2011-09-23 17:21
@spike.... Strangely enough good sides pick up more injuries when playing against weak sides....It was something we were taught in school boy rugby -the more committed you are in a game, the less likely you are to pick up injuries.... psychologically it is just that much harder to bring your most committed approach to a side that poses no threat. I suspect Samoa will bring out a very committed game from the boks..
Kleinboet - 2011-09-23 15:16
Did Mr Deans look worried after his team's win against the USA or is it just my imagination?
Andy - 2011-09-23 15:20
SA vs AB Semi!!!!
BCC - 2011-09-23 20:47
AB v France Final
OZNOB - 2011-09-23 15:20
glad to hear that we are not the only ones with injury worries and i hope the fiji side do a good job of softening up the samoans for us on sunday
Wynand - 2011-09-23 15:25
Thats why they are called the Wobblies! Luckily they probably wont play England again because last time their front row were stretchered off the field as well.
BlueRaven - 2011-09-23 16:03
Bad luck Oz, never nice when players are injured... that said, GO BOKKE!
Johann - 2011-09-23 17:49
Fainga'a OK ?? Certainly hope so, It looked quite serious. Q/final with Bokke will be some hard fought match, that's for sure. My money fermly on the Boks though. GOOOO BOKKE!!!! ,
Johann - 2011-09-23 17:58
PS. Enough pressure on the Aussie halfbacks will seal it for the Boks!!!
Alexis - 2011-09-24 09:10
please tells how anthony is getting on...................how serious is his injury...............it looked like it was not to good as an avid Aus suporter I need to know.......... they took a hell of a long time to get him off the field...........far to long !
Kleinboet - 2011-09-24 10:11
Unfortunately, not good, Alexis. There is no life after death for the Ausie team.