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Injury toll in Wallabies loss

Date

Greg Growden, Pretoria

Focused: Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and Wallaby Kurtley Beale vie for the ball at Loftus Versfeld stadium yesterday (AEST time).

Focused: Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and Wallaby Kurtley Beale vie for the ball at Loftus Versfeld stadium yesterday (AEST time). Photo: AP

WALLABIES coach Robbie Deans admitted he had never witnessed a more bizarre Test after his team suffered a succession of major injuries that made it near impossible to stop the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld Stadium yesterday.

The Springboks were conclusive victors after scoring five tries to one, with their imaginative winger Bryan Habana finishing with a hat-trick. They also had two other tries disallowed.

While the Springboks wanted victory more than the Wallabies, the visitors had little chance of a revival when they kept losing crucial performers - full-back Berrick Barnes (punctured lung), centre Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion), No.8 Radike Samo (shoulder), winger Digby Ioane (kneecap) and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (shoulder).

This meant the Wallabies sometimes had only 12 fit players running around, and in the end they finished the game with just 14 - after not being allowed to replace Polota-Nau with Saia Fainga'a, as they had already made seven substitutions. Halfback Nick Phipps ended up on the wing.

Wallabies team management was unsure if there would be enough fit bodies to fill the ranks next Saturday night when they play Argentina in Rosario. With more than 20 players unavailable through injury, replacements from home will be required to confront the Pumas, but there are major obstacles.

Barnes and Ashley-Cooper will remain in South Africa until they are able to fly home. Luke Morahan (Queensland Reds) and Cadeyrn Neville (Melbourne Rebels) have already been called up to travel to Argentina.

''We will have to bring players across from Australia, and that's going to be very challenging, because we've delved so deep into our resources that we may need players who don't have visas organised,'' Deans said. ''And organising a visa for Argentina is not straightforward.''

While the Springboks guaranteed victory in the first half by holding onto the ball for long stretches and being effective at the breakdown, the Wallabies were shackled during the second half as they kept having to replace injured key players.

The sinbinning of replacement prop James Slipper in the 53rd minute did not help either, with the Springboks scoring two tries while he was off the field.

However, just as demanding was that Deans had to keep making positional changes.

''It was unreal,'' the coach said. ''I thought the courage shown to hold them near the end to that score was remarkable.

''They scored once when Radike was down and we weren't allowed to put a replacement on in time. When Nick Phipps saved that try near the end, we had only 12 blokes upright at the time.

''There was some remarkable pride shown, and the circumstances were unprecedented. I've never seen anything like it. It was bizarre.''

There were some bright spots for Australia, in particular openside breakaway Michael Hooper's tireless effort, particularly in defence, while the new five-eighth Kurtley Beale tried to revive a flagging beast.

''I thought Kurtley's effort was great,'' Deans said. ''He squared up the attack and gave it a real crack. He worked hard and kicked well.''

Now the depleted Wallabies have to face the Pumas on home soil. Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer, whose side drew 16-all against Argentina in Mendoza, reminded the Wallabies how difficult the coming week will be.

''Argentina are a very difficult side to play against, especially at home, where you confront a really hostile crowd,'' he said.

''They are going to be really tough, especially when you have to travel halfway around the world to Argentina after playing in a tough Test like this one.''

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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