Mortlock in, Farrell out
Contrasting fortunes for Australia and England leading into their quarterfinal.
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2007 14:02 GMT
Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock returning to the backline [GALLO/GETTY]
Wallabies centre Stirling Mortlock has been cleared to lead Australia in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against defending champions England.
Mortlock missed Australia's last two pool games after dislocating his shoulder against Wales but has been recalled for the rematch between the 2003 finalists.
The ACT Brumbies player return was expected but still came as welcome relief to a squad badly hit with injuries.
Wing Mark Gerrard and backrower Davis Lyons have already been ruled out of the tournament while flyhalf Stephen Larkham and utility back Scott Staniforth are both still unavailable.

"The shoulder is great. I could have played last week but I wanted that extra week of rehab," Mortlock said.

"There's a lot of hype about this match and I'm just excited to be playing again."

Australia coach John Connolly has made only one change to the side he named against Wales.

Blockbusting winger Adam Ashley-Cooper, who missed that game with a toe injury, comes into the side on the left wing for Drew Mitchell, who drops back to the bench despite being the tournament's leading tryscorer with seven.

The versatile Julian Huxley is the only other back on a bench loaded with forwards, highlighting Australia's intentions to match England's massive pack.

"Most of our backs are fairly multi-skilled so we're confident about our lineup," Connolly said.

"We've gone down that path in most of our games this year".

Dangerous team

Despite the Australians being favourites to win, Connolly remains wary of England's forwards and the deadly kicking of their flyhalf Jonny Wlikinson.

"England is a very dangerous team," Connolly said.

"Their set piece has been their cornerstone for many years and they have incredible speed out wide and a number 10 who steers them around exceptionally well.

"When you look at our results through the pool games you'd have to say we're pretty happy with where we're at.

"But we're very conscious that we have to improve considerably on that to go any further in the tournament."

Farrell out

Meanwhile, Andy Farrell has pulled out of England's lineup with a calf muscle injury.

The rugby league convert had been recalled to play at inside center against the Wallabies but England announced on Thursday his right calf suffered a reaction after training on Wednesday.

Farrell had a clinical review and MRI scan on Thursday which confirmed a strain and the Saracens center is now getting treatment.

England coach Brian Ashton will not announce who replaces Farrell until Friday's news conference.

The likely replacement is Olly Barkley, who was left out of the starting lineup to make way for Farrell's return.

Australia team: 15-Chris Latham, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13-Stirling Mortlock (captain), 12-Matt Giteau, 11-Lote Tuqiri, 10-Berrick Barnes, 9-George Gregan, 8-Wycliff Palu, 7-George Smith, 6-Rocky Elsom, 5-Dan Vickerman, 4-Nathan Sharpe, 3-Guy Shepherdson, 2-Stephen Moore, 1-Matt Dunning.

Replacements: 16-Adam Freier, 17-Al Baxter, 18-Hugh McMeniman, 19-Stephen Hoiles, 20-Phil Waugh, 21-Julian Huxley, 22-Drew Mitchell

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.