Rugby World Cup 2011

Beale in doubt for semi

2011-10-11 07:46
Will Genia (AFP)

Auckland - Losing fullback Kurtley Beale to injury would be a "big blow" to the Wallabies but scrumhalf Will Genia is "100 percent confident" Australia can beat New Zealand in the rugby World Cup semi-finals this weekend.

Beale was "touch and go" for Sunday's match at Eden Park after limping off the field with a "mild" hamstring injury during the Wallabies' 11-9 victory over South Africa in Wellington on Sunday, a team spokesman said.

The 22-year-old is one part of Australia's backline "Three Amigos" along with flyhalf Quade Cooper and wing James O'Connor and has been one of his team's main attacking threats at the tournament.

"It would be a big blow but you'd have to deal with it," Genia said. "It's not something you could dwell on. He's obviously a world class player but in saying that, with the depth in our backline, we'd probably be able to cover it."

O'Connor or Berrick Barnes would be the most likely to fill the role should Beale miss out when coach Robbie Deans announces his team on Friday.

Prop Sekope Kepu had also had a scan on his injured ankle and that was more promising, the team said.

Genia, who forms a halfback partnership with Cooper that goes back to their schooldays, is likely to have a key role to play if the Wallabies can upset the hosts and reach a fourth World Cup final.

The 23-year-old said he had been immensely proud of the way his team mates found a way to beat the world champion Springboks last weekend despite having very little possession and having to defend for much of the game.

"I've never been part of a game like that and won, if you look at the stats alone, you'd think they beat us 50-0," he said.

"It was just won on guts and character and to be honest I'm just so proud to have been part of that performance, to have played that game and won."

Genia is a less extrovert character than Cooper but clearly the confidence runs just as deep and there were no mealy-mouthed sidesteps when he was asked whether the young Wallabies side could beat the All Blacks for a second time this year.

"100 percent confident," said Genia.

"I don't know if I could be more confident. I don't want to sound arrogant; I'm not that sort of bloke. I'm not cocky or arrogant, but I really believe in the guys that we have in this group that we can do it.

"We back each other all the way and we showed on the weekend that we can not only win through skill but also team spirit, wanting to do it for each other. For that fact alone, I have every confidence going into this game."

Genia said he thought Sunday's game would be a better spectacle than last week's battle with the Springboks, a sentiment shared by Adam Ashley-Cooper, who said he had had just one solitary carry of the ball in the entire match.

"The way the All Blacks play the game, there is going to be some expansive football played," Ashley-Cooper said.

"Given the conditions, if they're right, there's going to be a lot of ball-in-hand stuff.

"Not only will each member of the squad see the ball, it's going to be an entertaining spectacle for everyone involved."


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