BRISBANE // Australia have suffered a major injury blow on the eve of the World Cup final against New Zealand with veteran prop Steve Price ruled out. The 33-year-old New Zealand Warriors front row will miss tomorrow's game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium after tearing his left calf muscle at the team's final training session today.
Price pulled up suddenly during a routine drill and, after consultation with the team's medical staff, was withdrawn from the squad. The Kangaroos will announce a replacement tomorrow but are expected to promote Brent Kite into the starting line-up and bring in his Sea Eagles' teammate Josh Perry onto the bench. The Kangaroos received some good news today when the loose forward Paul Gallen completed training after initially struggling with a "dead leg" and will take his place in the team.
The coach Ricky Stuart had been forced to make one change to the side who beat Fiji 52-0, with winger David Williams taking the place of the injured Brent Tate. Williams scored a hat-trick of tries on debut against Papua New Guinea a fortnight ago and, according to assistant coach John Cartwright, will not let his team down. The final will go ahead as planned, despite the worst storms to hit south-east Queensland for more than 20 years.
Trees have been uprooted, houses smashed and a woman died after being trapped in a car as it was swept away in a torrent. Although more storms are forecast for the weekend, the organisers were confident the match, which is a near sell-out, will be unaffected. * PA Sport