Injury crisis for Wallabies after bonus point win over Portugal keeps slim RWC hopes alive - Sky
At Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne: Australia 34 (Rory Arnold, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell, Fraser McReight, Marika Koroibete tries; Ben Donaldson pen, 3 con) Portugal 14 (Pedro Bettencourt, Rafael Simões tries; Samuel Marques 2 con). HT: 24-7.
Yellow cards: Pedro Bettencourt (Portugal) 15min; Matt Faessler (Australia) 60min; Samu Kerevi (Australia) 62 min.
The Wallabies have been left with no specialist first five-eighth to call on, with Carter Gordon expected to be ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury and lock Nick Frost set to join him.
While the Australians don't know if they will have another World Cup match, with their quarter-final hopes hanging on Fiji's next result, coach Eddie Jones said the pair were unlikely to take any further part in the France tournament.
But Jones said that if the Wallabies do survive to face Pool D winners England in the play-offs in Marseille on Sunday October 15 (October 16 AEDT), skipper and lock Will Skelton and spearhead prop Taniela Tupou should be available.
Youngster Frost, who has been one of Australia's best, was replaced a minute into the second half of the Wallabies' 34-14 win over Portugal on Sunday (Monday NZ time) after injuring his knee late in the opening period.
Gordon was injured at training and ruled out just before the Saint-Etienne match.
"It's unlikely that Nick and Carter will take any more part in the tournament," Jones said.
"Conversely, we've got Taniela and Will, and if we have another game they will be ready to go."
Jones said he didn't think Gordon would require surgery while Frost would go for scans.
"[The knee injury] happened when he was warming up on Thursday, but it was only an irritation and since then we had a scan and it looked more serious than we thought," he said of Gordon.
Jones gambled with selecting just one specialist five-eighth in the squad in Gordon, overlooking veterans Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley.
However he replaced the Rebels No.10 in the starting role with utility Ben Donaldson following a poor showing in the team's loss to Fiji.
He could call in injury cover for Gordon, while the Wallabies still haven't replaced young fullback Max Jorgensen, who fractured his leg at training last week.
"We have players training in different positions and particularly since the advent of HIA (head injury assessments) you've got to become a lot more flexible," Jones said.
"We'll just make a judgment later in the week about what we do there."
The Wallabies' faint whiff of a World Cup quarter-final berth will linger for another week after the Australians took maximum points against the Portugese.
Flanker Fraser McReight scored their crucial fourth try in the 47th minute to collect a vital bonus point en route to victory.
They were forced to play with 13 men for eight minutes in the second half after poor discipline again reared its head but at least showed plenty of grit in defence.
But while it was important to finish the pool stage on a positive note after a horror campaign that included record losses to Wales and Fiji, it's likely to only be a week-long stay of execution.
They must now rely on Portugal beating Fiji next Sunday night (Monday NZ time) in Toulouse and also stop the Pacific islanders collecting a losing bonus point for the Wallabies to join unbeaten Wales in the play-offs
If they only pick up a point to join the Wallabies on 11, Fiji will advance due to having won their pool clash, sending Australia home before the quarter-finals for the first time in history.
"We're still alive and that was the aim of the day," Jones said.
"For a young team down to 13 men we showed plenty of courage and fought hard.
"We've done that all season and most of the time the results haven't been in our favour.
"We'll see on Sunday night - Portugal played with plenty of spirit tonight so you never know."
The Wallabies didn't have it all their own way against Os Lobos, with the world's 16th ranked side delivering the first try in the 12th minute.
Making the most of a penalty advantage, Tomas Appleton fired a massive cut-out pass to find his centre partner Pedro Bettencourt, who dived across in the corner with Samuel Marques adding the extras for 7-3 lead.
The Portuguese lost Bettencourt to a yellow card for a high tackle soon after and the Australians hit the lead through lock Richie Arnold, prop Angus Bell - a shining light for the Wallabies throughout the tournament – and captain Dave Porecki after the Wallabies’ maligned maul came up trumps.
As Jones emptied his bench after McReight’s try the game got ugly for the Wallabies.
Replacement hooker Matt Faessler got a yellow card for a maul infringement and then Samu Kerevi, who was a late replacement in the 23 for Gordon, followed after a clumsy fend.
While the men in yellow played with heart, Portugal collected a well-deserved try after 70 minutes when their scrum earned some pay through Rafael Simões.
It's unclear how the Wallabies plan to spend their week, while they wait for Fiji to decide their World Cup fate, with the pool C runners-up to face England in a quarter-final in Marseilles on Sunday October 15 (October 16 New Zealand time).