Australia's tri-nations campaign has been dealt a double blow with Quade Cooper suspended for two weeks for an illegal tackle during their match against South Africa and Digby Ioane ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Cooper was sent to the sin-bin midway through the second half of the Wallabies' 30-13 win over the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday after lifting Morne Steyn in a tackle.
He was suspended after a hearing here yesterday, where the judicial officer Bruce Squire likened the tackle to that for which Jean de Villiers received the same penalty after South Africa's defeat by New Zealand in Wellington last week. "This is consistent application in terms of like penalties for like offences," Squire said.
A stony-faced Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, said they would consider appealing to have the verdict overturned before their game against the All Blacks in Melbourne on Saturday.
"Obviously Quade's disappointed, we're disappointed, but we're in the process now of contemplating where to go from here," Deans said. "It obviously means that we're posed with a different challenge I guess."
Cooper's loss would mean another midfield reshuffle for Deans, who had been pleased with the successful reunion between the fly-half and his Queensland Reds team-mate Will Genia on Saturday. Berrick Barnes, who came off the bench on Saturday, could replace Cooper, with Deans satisfied with Matt Giteau's performance at inside centre.
"We do have some [depth] now, which is great, which we didn't have this time last year," Deans said. "[Barnes] is capable of playing both [centre and fly-half], Gits [Giteau] can play both."
Ioane, who had been targeting the All Blacks game for a return from a shoulder problem, aggravated the injury when being tackled by his brother last week."He went down, his brother fell on him and the shoulder popped," a team spokesman said. "He's gone for the Tri-Nations." Deans added: "It's tough on Digby because he got his hopes up."Reuse content