Gerrard injury a setback for Wallabies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gerrard injury a setback for Wallabies

By Adrian Warren 17/08/2005 06:44:48 PM Comments (0)

Australia's backline cupboard looked decidedly bare following an injury to luckless winger Mark Gerrard, while flankers George Smith and John Roe were dumped from the team to tackle South Africa in Saturday's Tri-Nations rugby Test in Perth.

Smith and Roe, who were replaced by Rocky Elsom and Phil Waugh, were the only players dropped from the team spanked 30-13 by New Zealand in Sydney last Saturday.

A Wallaby backline already decimated by injuries to Wendell Sailor, Stephen Larkham, Chris Latham and Stirling Mortlock, took another hit when Gerrard was ruled out with a small hamstring tear.

Gerrard, whose Test debut last year was twice put on hold by hamstring problems, was chosen for his second start in Wallaby colours following a maiden run-on appearance last weekend.

However, he pulled up tight after training and a precautionary MRI scan revealed the tear.

"Because of his history of hamstring injuries, we decided to get the scan which has obviously revealed the damage was worst than first thought," said Wallaby coach Eddie Jones.

He said Gerrard's place would go to either Clyde Rathbone or Mat Rogers, with the latter recalled to the squad after missing the last three Tests with a knee injury.

Jones said a decision on who would start would be made on Friday and he was reviewing his options on bringing another outside back into the squad.

There would be few fit and experienced options with uncapped players like Australia A representatives Peter Hewat and Junior Pelesasa among possible contenders, if the selectors opt for a third back, ahead of a fifth bench forward.

Gerrard's withdrawal meant there would be a fifth personnel change in addition to two positional switches to an injury-ravaged side flattened by three successive losses.

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