x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

David Skrela out of Rugby World Cup through injury

England also lose prop Andrew Sheridan through a shoulder injury, while Samoa are comfortable 49-12 winners over Namibia and Canada edge past Tonga.

Alesana Tuiliagi, the Samoan winger, made light work of Namibia by scoring a hat-trick in his side's opening 49-12 Rugby World Cup Pool D win.
Alesana Tuiliagi, the Samoan winger, made light work of Namibia by scoring a hat-trick in his side's opening 49-12 Rugby World Cup Pool D win.

AUCKLAND // David Skrela will miss the rest of the Rugby World Cup after sustaining a bad shoulder injury in the opener against Japan, according to the France coach Marc Lievremont.

The fly-half becomes the second high-profile player forced out of the World Cup in New Zealand through a shoulder injury following the announcement that the England Prop, Andrew Sheridan, will not be fit enough the remainder of the tournament

Skrela came on as a 51st minute replacement for Francois Trinh-Duc at No 10, but lasted only 11 minutes before sustaining his injury and had to go off.

"We decided yesterday that David would not be able to be fully fit after his injury on Saturday ... and after consulting French medical experts we got the confirmation that it would take a few weeks to recover," Lievremont said.

Capped 24 times, the 32-year-old, who moved from Toulouse to Clermont this year, will be replaced by the uncapped Jean-Marc Doussain of Toulouse, who will arrive next Tuesday.

France's next Pool A match is against Canada at Napier on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Doussain who can also play scrum-half, captained the French Under 20 team at the last age-group World Cup in Italy in June.

Lievremont said that Doussain had "caught my eye".

"I have full confidence in this player even if he has not played for me before. I look on him as the best replacement in this position," the coach said.

Lievremont said that he had hoped to have Doussain arrive in New Zealand earlier than next Tuesday but his club wanted him to play against Biarritz in a league match at the weekend.

The English Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced earlier today that Sheridan will also be returning home through injury.

The giant loose head prop has had two operations on his left shoulder since dislocating it in October 2009 and had only just returned from surgery on his right shoulder.

"It's really sad for Sheri," the England team manager Martin Johnson said. "He has been unlucky with injuries and we wish him all the best for his recovery. We brought five props so we have options there and we can bring another player out but we will decide what to do about that in due course."

Johnson has Dan Cole, Alex Corbisiero, Matt Stevens and David Wilson available for Saturday's second Pool B match against Georgia in Dunedin.

In today's Pool D match, Alesana Tuilagi scored three tries as Samoa kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 49-12 win over Namibia at Rotorua International Stadium.

Kahn Fotuali'i, the scrum-half, and Paul Williams, the full-back, also scored a try apiece in their bonus point win, while the referee Romain Poite awarded the Pacific islanders a penalty try for repeated scrum infringements by the Namibians close to their line.

Tusi Pisi, the Samoan fly-half, slotted two conversions and a penalty before he went off in the 28th minute with a hamstring injury while Williams, sin-binned in the first half for a shoulder charge on the Namibia fly-half Theuns Kotze, kicked a penalty and added three conversions.

Centre Danie van Wyk and Kotze scored consolation tries for the African nation, while the fly-half converted his effort under the posts.

In the later game, Canada winger Phil McKenzie scooted over in the 73rd minute as the North Americans opened their World Cup campaign with a seesawing 25-20 win over Tonga.

Aided by a strong tailwind, Canada took a 10-0 lead after 26 minutes and seemed to have the measure of the bigger Tongan line-up, but conceded a try on the stroke of half time to surrender the ascendancy.

Siale Piutau, the centre, crossed over twice as Tonga scored 20 of the next 23 points before Canada responded again with two late tries, then defended their five-point lead for the last seven minutes to clinch the vital Pool A win.

Canada have beaten Tonga in all three World Cup head-to-heads, dating back to the inaugural tournament in 1987.