Oz in no rush for replacements

2011-09-24 06:49

Wellington - Australia coach Robbie Deans will wait at least 48 hours before deciding whether to call for replacements to bolster his injury-hit rugby World Cup squad.

The Wallabies suffered a raft of injuries in their 67-5 victory over the United States on Friday, with centre Anthony Faingaa knocked unconscious in the final minute while fellow midfield backs Rob Horne suffered a fractured cheekbone and Pat McCabe dislocating his shoulder.

Number eight Wycliff Palu (hamstring) was also a casualty from the Pool C victory which got Australia's World Cup campaign back on course after a 15-6 loss to Ireland last week.

The injuries on Friday added to Deans' problems as Digby Ioane (broken thumb), David Pocock (back) and Scott Higginbotham (back) were not even considered for the US game, while James Horwill (shoulder) and James O'Connor (hamstring) were rested as a precaution.

Deans, speaking at the team hotel on Saturday, said he would need to wait 48 hours before making a decision on whether anyone would be sent home but sounded a positive note about Faingaa.

"Ant Faingaa you would have seen taken off on the stretcher as a result of a head knock," Deans said. "It never looks good, obviously, but ... he has presented very well this morning.

"He can recall everything, including the moments leading up to the tackle, so that's a great sign. (But) it's not something that we mess around with so we'll monitor him and just make sure he's fully recovered before he re-enters the fray."

Adam Ashley-Cooper, who scored a hat-trick of tries in seven minutes, Drew Mitchell and Kurtley Beale had also suffered twinges in the match against the United States.

"Kurtley Beale we took off as a precautionary measure: his hamstring tightened up," Deans said. "Coopy (Adam Ashley-Cooper) just jammed his ankle, so he's not moving very freely but there's nothing too sinister in that, we're assured.

"Drew Mitchell is a bit tight. He'll certainly be sore. That's his first full hit-out for a while and he did well, so it's a good sensation for him ... as opposed to a bad one."

Australia next play Russia in Nelson on October 1 and while Deans said he had another 10 players who were involved in the wider training group to call on, Berrick Barnes's return to action gives him options at inside centre.

Barnes had been in doubt for the World Cup after withdrawing from Super Rugby earlier this year due to migraines and admitted he did not know whether he would return to international rugby.

"At the end (of Super Rugby) there I had some serious doubts. But I just said to myself, 'look I'll take a break, I'll come back again when I feel right,'" he added.

"At the end (of Super Rugby) the World Cup was the last thing on my mind and I'm pretty rapt to be here."