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Home > Sports > News > Reuters > Report

Aussie victory comes at a heavy cost

November 15, 2003 20:30 IST
Last Updated: November 16, 2003 00:27 IST

Australia will have to confront a worrying injury toll from their rugby World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand on Saturday, with prop Ben Darwin unlikely to be fit for next week's final.

Wallaby prop Ben Darwin being stretchered off with his neck in a braceDarwin was stretchered from the field with his neck in a brace. The England-born ACT Brumbies tighthead was injured after a scrum disintegrated around him.

Play was held up for almost seven minutes while Darwin was treated and taken from the field on a motorised cart.

Australia's coach Eddie Jones said Darwin had regained movement by the end of the match, but would have to undergo thorough testing on Sunday.

"Benny Darwin's got full movement back, but obviously we will get an assessment as to what his damage is," Jones told reporters.

Also giving cause for concern after a brutally physical match were hooker Brendan Cannon with a shoulder injury and lock Nathan Sharpe with a lower leg injury.

"At this stage we are a little bit unaware of how we are placed injury-wise," Jones said.

Sharpe spent six minutes in the blood bin after he was hit in a high tackle by New Zealand number eight Jerry Collins midway through the first half. He was replaced for good by David Giffin just before half-time.

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Centre Stirling Mortlock, who scored Australia's only try and was a constant danger to the New Zealand defence, was replaced after suffering cramps in both legs just before full-time, but is expected to be fit for next Saturday's final against the winners of the England-France semi-final on Sunday.

Australia used five of their seven replacements by the end of the match, several other players, including captain George Gregan, also suffering cramps as they collapsed exhausted on the Olympic Stadium pitch at full-time.

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