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October 21, 2009

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Mortlock ruled out with injury

RECENTLY deposed captain Stirling Mortlock has been ruled out of the first two tests in Australia's end-of-season tour because of an injured calf muscle.

The strong-running center returned from the knee injury which curtailed his Tri-Nations campaign to gain selection for the five-test tour, but was replaced as captain by flanker Rocky Elsom.

The Australian Associated Press reported yesterday that Mortlock would be unavailable for the October 31 Bledisloe Cup test against New Zealand in Tokyo and the November 7 test against England at Twickenham, where the Wallabies start their Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland.

The 32-year-old Mortlock will remain in Sydney to continue his rehabilitation when the remainder of the 35-man Wallabies squad flies to Japan on Sunday. He is expected to be available for selection for the November 15 test against Ireland.

"It's bad enough, a decent size tear in the muscle," Mortlock told reporters yesterday. "I think realistically we're targeting being 100 per cent right by that week leading into the Ireland match.

"From my perspective obviously it is extremely disappointing ... The best way forward for me is getting treatment here in Australia."

Mortlock, an 80-test veteran, missed the last four tests in the Tri-Nations series after injuring his knee in South Africa. The Australians finished last, with only one win from six tests.


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