Kurtley Beale out of World Cup semifinal

2011-10-15 08:51

Australia fullback Kurtley Beale has lost his race to be declared fit in time for tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup semifinal against New Zealand here at Eden Park in Auckland.

The gifted 22-year-old, who was one of five nominees for last year’s International Rugby Board player of the year award, was withdrawn prior to today’s Captain’s Run at North Harbour Stadium.

While Beale did later take part in some of the drills, he was still unable to stride out confidently enough, having earlier made the decision, alongside Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and the team’s medical staff, that he wasn’t ready to play.

As a result, Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to fullback in the finalised Australian line-up, with Anthony Fainga’a starting as the run on centre while Rob Horne is confirmed on the bench.

“It’s disappointing but is an outcome we’d catered for through our preparation this week,” Deans says.

“We always anticipated it would be unlikely that Kurtley would be ready, but we wanted to give him every opportunity to make it.

Unfortunately, time has run out. It was important for the clarity of the preparation, both for the team and for Kurtley, that we made the decision today.”

For his part, while disappointed, Beale is backing the side to excel without him.

“It’s going to be tough watching it from the sidelines, I can’t deny that, but it’s about the team, not me,” Beale says.

“We’ve tried, and the medical staff have done a great job, but it’s best for the team that I miss this one. I’m not far away and will hopefully be ready to go next week. I’m backing the boys to do the job in my absence. Everyone’s really excited and looking forward to the game.”

It is hoped Beale will be available for the Wallabies final match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which will be determined by the outcome of tomorrow’s semifinal.

Should Australia win, the side will contest its fourth Rugby World Cup final on Sunday next week. If New Zealand prevails, the Wallabies will play the loser of today’s opening semifinal between France and Wales in the bronze medal play-off at Eden Park on Friday night.

The confirmed Wallabies team to play New Zealand in the second semifinal of the Rugby World Cup, at Eden Park, Auckland, tomorrow is:

15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies), 14. James O’Connor (Western Force), 13. Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), 12. Pat McCabe (Brumbies), 11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), 10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), 9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds), 8. Radike Samo (Queensland Reds), 7. David Pocock (Western Force), 6. Rocky Elsom (Brumbies), 5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds, captain), 4. Dan Vickerman (NSW Waratahs), 3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies), 2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs).

Reserves:
16. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs), 17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds), 18. Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), 19. Ben McCalman (Western Force), 20. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs), 21. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), 22. Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs).

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