Injuries blight Wallabies win

The Wallabies victory over the Barbarians was overshadowed by serious injuries to props Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu.

Dunning snapped his Achilles tendon and his Waratahs teammate Kepu tore a pectoral muscle in the same scrum in the second half.

Both look certain to miss the entire Super 14 campaign having been the victims of Wembley’s notorious loose surface, which gave way all too easily under the combined weight of the two packs.

“It was obvious that that surface wasn’t conducive to scrums,” said Wallabies captain and man of the match George Smith. “That’s why we went to uncontested scrums.”

Dunning, whose injury may even be career-threatening, slipped on the shifting surface and brought the Australian front row down with him, resulting in Kepu’s arm being forced back, tearing his chest muscle.

Since the Wembley Stadium was re-opened in 2007, the turf has repeatedly been criticised and deemed unsuitable for its primary purpose of staging football games.

Coach Robbie Deans claimed that while the injuries took the shine off his side’s victory, he refused to agree with the suggestions that the match was meaningless and should not have been played after their five-test tour which kicked off on 1 November against the All Blacks in Hong Kong.

“It’s the worst part of the game, injuries, and they’re pretty significant injuries both of them,” said Deans. “To have it happen in the last outing, just before the break, won’t be something that they’re enjoying.

“But they’re resilient characters and they’ve got great habits and discipline in the way they go about their work, so they’re definitely capable of coming back.

“Obviously the Waratahs won’t be excited when they hear the news, but it’s just bad luck, just one of the unfortunate realities of the game.

“These things happen and I think if you put the question to the players, they’d say they’d do it all again.”