Stirling Mortlock in action for the Rebels. Photo: Getty Images
INJURY could ruin another landmark moment in Stirling Mortlock's career, with calf soreness putting Melbourne Rebels' retiring captain in doubt for his final game in Australia, tomorrow night's Super Rugby clash against Queensland at AAMI Park.
The club said in a statement yesterday it was hopeful Mortlock would still play after scans on his right leg showed ''minimal damage''.
If he fails to pass a fitness test tomorrow, it will not be the first time the 35-year-old is forced to watch from the sidelines in what should be moments for him to savour.
He missed the Brumbies' Super 12 wins in 2001 and 2004 because of injury.
Mortlock, who also lost the Wallabies captaincy in 2009 after damaging his knee in a Tri-Nations clash against South Africa, last week announced he would retire after realising that his body would not take him through another season.
Mortlock will retire after the Rebels' final games against the Lions and Stormers.
Meanwhile, Australian under-20s skipper Liam Gill hasn't returned to the Queensland Reds in the best shape, but the rising flanker believes the rigours of a failed world junior championship campaign has him match hardened for Super Rugby's business end.
''It's certainly not easy to be the leader of a team which is not producing good results,'' Gill said.
■An investigation of coach John Mitchell has been started by South Africa's Golden Lions Rugby Union.
The GLRU said in a statement the Kiwi ''has been suspended to provide the union with the opportunity to investigate certain allegations''.
Mitchell was suspended on Friday after local media said ''a list of grievances'' against him was handed by players to club president Kevin de Klerk.