Rugby World Cup 2011

Oz wait on injured trio

2011-10-10 11:27
Kurtley Beale leaving the field of play against the Springboks (Getty Images)

Auckland -Australia's Kurtley Beale, Pat McCabe and Sekope Kepu are all battling injuries ahead of this weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-final with New Zealand after a bruising last eight clash against South Africa.

The Wallabies knocked the Springboks, the defending champions, out of the tournament in a gruelling 11-9 victory in Wellington on Sunday.

Exciting fullback Beale, who has been troubled by hamstring problems throughout the tournament, went off five minutes from the finish by which time inside centre McCabe had already exited with yet more shoulder trouble.

Meanwhile prop forward Kepu lasted until 11 minutes from time before leaving the thick of a draining physical battle up front because of an ankle injury.

But Australia coach Robbie Deans was optimistic about the three players' chances of being available to face New Zealand at Eden Park on Sunday.

Former All Black Deans said McCabe, who 'popped' his shoulder against the United States, had suffered a less serious 'stinger' shoulder injury at the weekend, while Kefu had "rolled" his ankle rather than anything more serious.

"Pat's good, he's recovered very well, the strength's come back quickly.

"He got a couple of 'stingers' and he wasn't comfortable at the time, so we withdrew him from the game at that point. But he's recovered very well.

"Kurtley will have a scan, as will Sekope Kepu, so we will just make sure we know what we're dealing with. But neither of them are grave,"Deans told reporters on Monday.

Beale, 23, a rare attacking threat for the Wallabies in an attritional contest against the Springboks, missed the final pool match against Russia with a hamstring strain and, were he to be ruled out against the All Blacks, he'd be a huge loss for Australia

McCabe was replaced in the 53rd minute against South Africa by experienced playmaker Berrick Barnes, whose impact off the bench was praised by Deans following the substitute's touch-finder with 10 minutes left that led to a lineout penalty from which James O'Connor kicked the winning score.

"Berrick did well," Deans said after the match.

"There was one very good kick that alleviated a lot of pressure and produced a bit of pressure, which ultimately produced the opportunity that we needed."


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