Steve Price ruled out of World Cup final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Steve Price ruled out of World Cup final

21/11/2008 08:26:14 PM Comments (0)

Australia is facing a front row crisis ahead of Saturday night's World Cup final with the Kangaroos preparations thrown into disarray on Friday when prop Steve Price was ruled out with a torn calf muscle.

Already without Manly prop Josh Perry due to a shoulder injury, Price's training mishap was the last thing the Australians needed on match eve with the squad already light on for engine room back-up.

Brent Kite is the man most likely to be elevated into the starting XIII, but that move would leave coach Ricky Stuart without a recognised prop on the bench against a New Zealand side bursting with big bodies.

Anthony Watmough - the only other forward available to Stuart - is the obvious candidate to come into the squad, with he, Sydney Roosters veteran Craig Fitzgibbon and Anthony Laffranchi set to share the load in the middle of the ruck.

New Zealand had already stated their intention to play Saturday night's game in the forwards, and Price's injury will not only strengthen that resolve, but also their belief that they can cause an upset.

All eyes were on injured lock Paul Gallen at Australia's final training run, which had to be moved from Suncorp Stadium to a nearby local ground to a heavy downpour in Brisbane on Thursday night.

Gallen moved without obvious discomfort, but the real test will come on Saturday morning when he sees how the cork reacts to his first run of the week.

"I think he's looking pretty good at this stage," Australian assistant coach John Cartwright said.

"He had a light run earlier in the week, I'd say he'll be alright at this stage. Like we've done all tournament, we'll just use all precautions."

Australia were already forced into one change during the week with Brent Tate ruled out with a hip flexor injury on Thursday, David Williams coming onto the wing for his second Test.

Cartwright admitted the Kangaroos were wary of a last game letdown, with their 2005 capitulation to the Kiwis in the Tri-Nations final a talking point in the lead-up to the match.

"You've got to have a little bit of fear of failure, it's definitely been mentioned," Cartwright said of the 24-0 loss to the Kiwis on 2005.

"The boys react differently to those sorts of situations. It was mentioned early but it hasn't been mentioned since, it's all been positive since then.

"It is a World Cup final, the conditions aren't going to be the best, it could come down to a bounce of a ball."

The Kiwis are expected to run out as selected with their final session at Suncorp Stadium later Friday allowed to go ahead by ground officials.

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