Ashley-Cooper doubtful for 'massive' Wales tie after toe injury

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The Independent Online

The Australia wing Adam Ashley-Cooper is in danger of missing Saturday's game against Wales with a painful toe injury.

Ashley-Cooper damaged ligaments shortly after scoring a try in Australia's 91-3 defeat of Japan in Lyons on Saturday and has not trained since. He said the toe was responding well to treatment but he was still unsure whether he would recover in time to play against Wales, a match that will almost certainly decide who tops Pool B.

"It's a massive game and of all the games this is probably the one I wanted to play in against Wales but there are bigger fish to fry and if the toe isn't 100 per cent I'm not going to risk it, it's not worth it," he said yesterday. "At the moment it's 50-50 and it has responded very well to treatment, with ice and anti-inflammatories. But I'm not running so it's difficult to tell."

If Ashley-Cooper does not recover in time, his most likely replacement is Drew Mitchell, who scored two tries when he came on for him against Japan.

Elsewhere, Shane Horgan has been restored to Ireland's starting line-up for their second World Cup match against Georgia on Saturday. Horgan suffered a knee ligament strain while warming up before last month's match with Scotland and has spent the last four weeks on the sidelines.

The Leinster back returns to the right wing with Ulster's Andrew Trimble dropping out of the squad altogether in the only change to the 22 selected against Namibia.

Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll has been passed fit to lead the side after recovering from the hyper-extended elbow sustained against Namibia and continues at outside centre. Fly-half Ronan O'Gara and prop Marcus Horan are also included after making swift recoveries from respective foot and rib injuries.

O'Sullivan said Trimble has fractured a finger and will be sidelined for a week. The Ulsterman would have replaced Geordan Murphy on the bench had he been fit but now faces a race against time to be available for the pivotal match against France.

Ireland (v Georgia, Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, Saturday): G Dempsey (Leinster); S Horgan (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster); M Horan (Munster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets), D Wallace (Munster), D Leamy (Munster). Replacements: J Flannery (Munster), S Best (Ulster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), N Best (Ulster), I Boss (Ulster), P Wallace (Ulster), G Murphy (Leicester).

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