Rugby Union: Horan made captain after injury to Eales

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The Independent Online
Tim Horan has taken over the captaincy of the Australian squad after John Eales suffered a fractured eye socket in the 22-12 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday which has ruled him out of the remainder of the tour.

The injury to Eales has deprived Australia of their main line-out source against Wales next Sunday. After Test wins in Italy, Scotland and Ireland, the Wallabies must also negotiate fixtures against Munster and the Barbarians if they want to complete a clean sweep, and Horan acknowledges the loss of Eales is significant. "They originally thought he had a bruised cornea and that he would be fit for the Welsh game. Now they say it'll be around six to eight weeks before it heals."

Eales will have further medical tests in Ireland and is likely to stay with the tour party. There have been no suggestions by Wallaby management of malice in regard to the injury, suffered when the Irish centre Mark McCall high-tackled the towering Wallaby - a feat in itself.

Five Australian players have now been ruled out of the trip and, at the end of a hectic year, the strain of professional rugby is beginning to show. Before they flew to Europe they had met Wales and Canada and competed in the Tri-Nations series with New Zealand and South Africa inside three months. Horan, though, insists there is still something left in the tank. "The guys are pretty tired but when we have to dig deep the fitness is there."