The Wallabies have suffered their first notable injury of the Rugby World Cup, with James O’Connor ruled of Saturday’s group match against Uruguay in Oita.
O’Connor, who was named on the reserves bench as outside back cover, has been replaced by Samu Kerevi.
An Australian team statement said the 29-year-old had suffered a corked muscle in training and “pulled up sore” on Saturday morning.
O’Connor and Kerevi were the starting midfield in the two opening matches against Fiji and Wales but were replaced this week by Matt Toomua and Tevita Kuridrani.
Captain Michael Hooper is demanding a convincing response to last week’s loss to Wales and is wary they’re coming up against committed opponents at a venue that has been compared to a sauna.
Humidity at the enclosed stadium skyrocketed for last Wednesday’s match between New Zealand and Canada drained the players and resulted in a slew of handing errors.
Hooper said a different carrying technique may be the instruction if the ball takes on soap-like qualities.
“Keep the ball away off the chest, minimise how slippery and wet that ball gets, especially after a couple of phases,” he said.
“You try and grasp it early and keep it off the chest. The jerseys will be very wet so keeping it off there is important. Just catch the ball. It’s as simple as that.”
The Wallabies have made it a priority to start more strongly than in both pool matches so far.
Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Jordan Petaia, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (capt), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Faingaa, James Slipper. Res: Jordan Uelese, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Will Genia, James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Bet 365 kindly invited RugbyPass along to interview Matt Giteau and Mike Tindall to speak about their countries chances at the Rugby World Cup.
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