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Bad news for O'Connor, Gerrard to leave

Date

Stathi Paxinos

STIRLING Mortlock had been willing to risk further damage to his troublesome calf and miss the Melbourne Rebels' final two games of the season so that he could play his final game in Australia last night at AAMI Park.

The Rebels skipper had been in serious doubt for last night's game and admitted that had it been a less significant occasion, he would most likely not have played.

But as things turned out, Mortlock, who will retire after the end of this season, played the first half of the Rebels's clash against Queensland, and was last night confident that he would tomorrow join his teammates travelling to South Africa for the team's final two games of the season against the Lions and Stormers.

"It actually went a lot better than I anticipated, so it looks like I'm going to South Africa which is really positive," Mortlock said.

"We ummed and aahed about everything and at the end of the day I said we were going to roll the dice and that's exactly what we did, and thankfully everything seemed to go as well as it could, so (it's a) very good result from my perspective.

"Hilly [coach Damien Hill] and the medical staff backed my call and if I didn't have confidence I could [play] I was definitely going to pull the pin."

Hill said: "My instructions to the medical staff was that if he could play he should play. I think this team performs better when Stirling's on the field leading them".

But the news was less positive for James O'Connor who, in his first game since lacerating his liver in round nine,  aggravated a hamstring injury.

Hill said O'Connor would have scans today but was unlikely to travel to South Africa, with his place being taken by Lloyd Johansson.

"I'm not sure of the extent of James' injury but it doesn't look good," Hill said. "We'll have to wait for the scan but on my layman's observation he won't be touring but we'll wait and see."

However, he said, while Kurtley Beale, who entered the game with sore ribs suffered in the  Wallabies' Test against Wales last weekend, finished "battered and bruised, he would be fit to play next week".

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie said there was no concern over Quade Cooper, who came off the field after half-time and was seen icing his leg. He said Cooper, who has recently returned from a long-term knee injury, had taken a bump to his lower leg and had been replaced as a precaution.

McKenzie said, despite a 30-minute period after half-time when the Rebels scored two tries, he was satisfied with the Reds' performance which takes them to 49 points, level on the Australian conference table with the Brumbies, who play Western Force tonight, but with a better points difference.

"There was just a patch there where we gave them some counter-attack and Beale at 10 [where he moved after O'Connor left the field] made a big difference to them. He made things happen for them as he does," McKenzie said.

"There was a period of the game when we were just holding on but we actually defended pretty well. There was some pretty good and courageous last-ditch defence, but ideally we wouldn't have put ourselves in that position."

Meanwhile, Mark Gerrard, one of the Rebels most consistent performers during the club's first two years, revealed that he would return to Japanese rugby, where he played before joining the Rebels, at the end of the season.

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Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
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BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
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HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
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STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
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BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
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RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
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BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
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HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
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SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
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BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 12
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HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
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Round 15
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
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LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
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RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
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STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
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REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
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CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
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Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
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Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
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Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
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