Backline injury crisis a Wallabies worry - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Backline injury crisis a Wallabies worry

By Melissa Woods 15/05/2003 10:29:49 PM Comments (0)

Australia's backline stocks are down to bare bones after exciting youngster Matt Giteau joined a worrying injury list less than a month from the Wallabies first rugby union Test of the year.

Wallaby coach Eddie Jones' plans to have his World Cup backline settled by the start of the Tri-nations series in July have been all but scuttled, with Giteau joining seven other Wallaby backs on the sidelines.

With Wallaby five-eighth Stephen Larkham out for six to eight weeks after dislocating his elbow last Friday, Giteau was vying to wear the No.10 in Australia's home Tests and Ireland, Wales and England next month.

Reliable Queenslander Elton Flatley now seems certain to get that spot as Giteau will be out of action for four weeks after a MRI scan revealed two fractures in his leg, ruling him out of the Brumbies' Super 12 semi-final against the Blues on Saturday.

The other injured Wallabies include NSW fullback Mat Rogers (foot), Queensland fullback Chris Latham (ribs and ankle), Queensland winger Ben Tune (knee), ACT winger Andrew Walker (knee), while ACT centre Stirling Mortlock underwent a shoulder reconstruction ruling him out until just prior to the World Cup kick-off on Oct 10.

Latham and Tune will be fit for the Ireland Test in Perth on June 7, however Rogers' broken foot has been very slow to heal.

Of further concern for Jones is that of the available players, few are producing performances impressive enough to mark themselves as Wallaby certainties.

Before Larkham's injury, Flatley and Giteau had been leading candidates for the inside centre spot and tough NSW stalwart Nathan Grey is probably the frontrunner there now.

Incumbent Wallaby No.12 Daniel Herbert has battled a knee injury while both he and fellow centre Steve Kefu have been patchy for the Reds.

Matt Burke and Latham are the leading fullback chances, with Joe Roff on one wing and Lote Tuqiri and Wendell Sailor vying for the other.

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