Wallabies injury crisis deepens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies injury crisis deepens

By Philip Henderson 15/08/2005 08:39:36 PM Comments (0)

Embattled Australian coach Eddie Jones is sweating on the fitness of several wounded Wallabies as he tries to piece together a "mix-and-match" backline for Saturday's Tri-Nations rugby Test.

Australia's injury crisis deepened with centre Stirling Mortlock (calf) and hooker Jeremy Paul (shoulder/neck) ruled out of the Wallabies' clash with South Africa in Perth.

Flyhalf Matt Giteau (lower back) is also in doubt and to compound matters, Giteau's understudy Lachlan Mackay, who was set to join the squad, failed his morning medical with a knee complaint.

Jones - whose future as Wallabies coach has come under mounting pressure after three-straight losses - stopped short of issuing an SOS for a back-up No.10.

But with Stephen Larkham out for six months, and few internationally-experienced regular five-eighths available, Jones was relying heavily on Giteau being fit and ready come Saturday.

He was also sweating on the return of first and second-choice fullbacks Chris Latham (hamstring) and Mat Rogers (knee) as the Wallabies try to regroup from Saturday's disappointing 30-13 loss to New Zealand against a well-rested and in-form Springboks' side.

"We're very hopeful that Matt will be right to play," Jones said.

"His recovery has been pretty good and he did some light training today.

"We've got Elton Flatley who can obviously play 10, then we'll just have to look at one of the outside backs filling in there.

"We've got Matty Rogers, Mark Gerrard, plus (Clyde) Rathbone there, so we'll just look at how we can mix and match the situation.

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