Australia have been dealt a blow ahead of their semi final with New Zealand on Wednesday with the news that full back Kurtley Beale has been ruled out of the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009 through injury.
Beale, who equalled the record number of tries in a single match with four in Australia’s opening 86-0 defeat of Canada, suffered an injury to his right hamstring in the first half of their Pool D decider with Wales in Saga on Saturday.
The NSW Waratahs player has now returned to Australia with 20-year-old Peter Betham arriving in Tokyo to link up with the squad as they prepare to face defending champions New Zealand in the first semi final in the Japanese capital.
Australia coach David Nucifora admitted it was “disappointing” to lose Beale, but Betham is no stranger to IRB Age Grade tournaments, having played at both the Under 19 World Championship in 2007 and last year’s Junior World Championship.
“It is disappointing we lost Rob Horne, now Kurtley,” admitted Nucifora. "There has been a lot made of the number of Super 14 players experience we had, but the focus for our team when we came together was to bring it together as a team. In the past that hasn’t been done as well as it should.
“Regardless of what backgrounds and teams they have come from it was about building a team out here. It’s disappointing for Kurtley and Rob, but it gives the other boys an opportunity and so far they have done a good job.”
Scotland lose captain Brown
Nucifora is not the only coach who has had to call for replacements in the last few days with Scotland, Uruguay, France, Wales and South Africa all seeing players ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
Semi finalists South Africa will also be without a player for the knockout stages, flanker Tendayi Chikukwa injuring his right knee and ankle against France. His replacement has not yet been announced.
Wales lost the services of wing Jamie Davies with a shoulder injury, but have elected not to call out a replacement for the Carmarthen Quins player as they now contest the fifth to eighth place playoffs in Fukuoka.
Federico Mujica will arrive in Japan on Monday and join up with the Uruguay squad in Nagoya, where they will contest the 13th to 16th place play-offs this week. Mujica replaces Los Teritos’ prop Rafael Tchilingirbarchian.
France will also have two players arriving in Fukuoka on Monday with scrum half Nicolas Bezy and prop Yvan Watremez replacing the injured Florian Cazenave and Thomas Lebrequier for the fifth to eighth place playoffs.
Scotland have seen two players ruled out following their narrow 12-7 defeat of Japan, which guaranteed their place in Argentina next year when the IRB Junior World Championship will be reduced from 16 to 12 teams.
Both of them are forwards in hooker Fraser Brown and second row Nick Campbell. Brown, the Scotland captain, has a shoulder injury, while Campbell damaged knee ligaments. They will be replaced by Tom Drennan and Alun Walker.