Australia's World Cup hopes could be dealt a severe blow with Toutai Kefu, the vice-captain, in doubt because of a shoulder injury, according to media reports.
The Daily Telegraph in Sydney said the injury Kefu suffered to his left shoulder in the Tri-Nations loss to New Zealand a fortnight ago is feared to be more serious than was at first thought. Kefu had been instructed to avoid contact training for a month, but the worry now is that he is still in severe pain.
The hard-driving number eight, will consult a specialist on Monday, three days before the 30-man Australia squad is due to be named.
"I'm starting to worry now, because that could be it for me," Kefu said. "I've got to see the specialist and take it from there. The worst case scenario is a shoulder reconstruction. The best case scenario is to have a scope and let it heal over the next six weeks."
Australia kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina on 10 October.
The International Rugby Board announced its panel of 16 referees and eight touch judges for for the event yesterday. Hosts Australia provide four referees with New Zealand contributing three, South Africa, England and Ireland two each and Argentina, France and Wales one apiece. Officials for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals will be announced during the tournament.
2003 World Cup Referees: Argentina: Pablo Deluca. Australia: Andrew Cole, Stuart Dickinson, Peter Marshall, Scott Young
England: Tony Spreadbury, Chris White. France: Joel Jutge. Ireland: David McHugh, Alain Rolland. New Zealand: Paul Honiss, Paddy O'Brien, Steve Walsh. South Africa: Jonathan Kaplan, Andre Watson. Wales: Nigel Williams.Reuse content