Larkham to miss quarter-final

Australia will need to wait a little longer for fly-half Stephen Larkham after the Wallabies veteran underwent a second knee operation in a week which will postpone his Rugby World Cup return.

Larkham underwent another arthroscopy in Montpellier overnight after contracting an infection following his initial surgery on September 16.

This means that the Wallabies playmaker will miss Saturday’s final Pool B clash against Canada and the quarter-final against either England or Tonga.

Larkham had been hoping to make an appearance off the bench against Canada this weekend as preparation for Australia’s quarter-final clash.

“Stephen woke up with some pain and swelling yesterday and had another procedure overnight to clean out his knee,” said Australia coach John Connolly.

“It’s a big setback for Stephen as he’s now definitely out of this week’s match and the quarter final.

“I’ve spoken to the medical staff and they really can’t say when he’ll be fit to play.

“We know we won’t have him for the quarter final but if all goes well he may be available the following week.”

Larkham has been replaced in the Wallabies side by Queensland Test rookie Berrick Barnes and the 21-year-old is likely to keep the fly-half jersey for the quarter-final.

“You would have to say Berrick would be favourite to start at this stage, but we do have a couple of options so we’ll sit down and discuss that after the game on Saturday,” said Connolly.

“It’s a big ask for a 21-year-old but Berrick did an outstanding job against Wales in a pressure situation a fortnight ago.”

But Barnes, the rookie who played against Wales and Fiji in Larkham’s absence, is nursing an injured thigh that would have curtailed his training program until Friday.

The latest development in the Larkham knee saga, coupled with the the injury to Barnes, will now trigger a new-look to the Wallabies backline when Connolly announces his side on Wednesday to face the Canadians this weekend.


365 Digital

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