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Mortlock ruled out for Wallabies

By Melissa Woods 06/10/2003 07:11:27 PM Comments (0)

He's been hailed as the saviour of the Wallabies backline yet Stirling Mortlock was unable to produce a miracle recovery of his own on Monday night.

The outside centre was ruled out of Friday's opening Rugby World Cup clash with Argentina after failing to overcome a bout of gastroenteritis which left him bed-ridden for the past two days.

Given Mortlock has played only two club games since undergoing a shoulder reconstruction at the end of the Super 12 season, Australian coach Eddie Jones was unwilling to give the 26-year-old any more time to prove his fitness.

Mortlock was told he had to show significant improvement by Monday night or sit out the match.

The Australian line-up will be announced on Tuesday, with NSW team-mates Matt Burke and Mat Rogers the possible replacements at outside centre.

Rogers has started the past four Tests there, however is earmarked for a move to fullback, replacing incumbent Chris Latham.

Jones may instead look to veteran Burke, who has been training at No.13, to limit the disruption to his backline.

The coach was keeping his cards close to his chest.

"We'll just have to have a look at the balance of the team and how we want to play the game so we'll have to make a decision between those two," Jones said.

The Wallabies had hoped to rush the hard-running Mortlock straight back into the side to give him as much game time as possible before the business end of the World Cup.

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