Oz call up Turner, Hodgson

2011-10-02 13:17

Nelson - Australia have called up winger Lachie Turner and backrower Matt Hodgson to their Rugby World Cup squad to replace the injured Drew Mitchell and Wycliff Palu.

Mitchell damaged his left hamstring in the 68-22 win over Russia on Saturday, the latest in a catalog of injuries that almost derailed his World Cup selection in the first place. Medical tests on Sunday showed a serious strain, meaning he'll be sidelined for six weeks.

"The time (frame) for him just didn't work," Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said. "Drew worked so hard. The great thing is he had some involvement in the tournament, which way back when, he probably thought he wasn't going to get any. It's up to the boys now to represent him."

No 8 Palu left New Zealand last week with a similar injury, but Australian management waited until after the group stage to name a replacement.

Australia have a long list of injured players in New Zealand, but in Turner and Hodgson have drafted in players who can cover several positions.

Both players will join the Australian squad in Wellington on Tuesday.

Turner and Hodgson were part of the original 40-man Australian squad and the group of players who won the Tri-Nations.

The 30-year-old Hodgson made his Test debut against Fiji last year and has played six internationals, including the shock loss to Samoa and the win over South Africa this year. The openside flanker was voted the Western Force player of the year in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

The 24-year-old Turner has played 14 Tests for the Wallabies after making his debut against France in 2008. His last Wallabies appearance was as a replacement in the 59-16 win over the French last year.

"The challenge for our group, those who haven't been involved in a World Cup, is to learn without going through the pain," Deans said. "To learn from the counsel from some of these blokes who have been here before and understand the immediacy of what they're confronted with this week."