Welsh Rugby
World Cup woe for Stoddart
ESPNscrum Staff
August 6, 2011
Wales fullback Morgan Stoddart is tended to by medics, England v Wales, Rugby World Cup warm-up, Twickenham, England, August 6, 2011
Morgan Stoddart is tended to by medics after suffering a leg break in Saturday's game at Twickenham © Getty Images

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has confirmed that Morgan Stoddart suffered a broken leg in Saturday's 23-19 defeat by England, dashing the fullback's hopes of travelling to New Zealand for next month's World Cup.

Stoddart was carried from the pitch and Wales coach Gatland confirmed the injury appeared serious. He said: "It looks like a bad break, it's a shame for him."

Gatland confirmed Stephen Jones, who had been due to become his country's most capped player by making a 101st Test appearance until he was withdrawn following the warm-up, had suffered a calf muscle injury.

Gatland said: "He had a tight calf before the game and we didn't want to take any chances. If he had torn the calf that is six weeks out."

Stoddart only started at fullback after Jones pulled out shortly before kick-off, forcing Gatland to move to Rhys Priestland into the fly-half jersey. The injury occurred when he was tackled by Matt Banahan having just intercepted a pass from the England wing.

"You have got to feel for him (Stoddart)," said Gatland. "We have been joking in the past, calling him 'Glass' and 'Crystal' because he does pick up a few injuries but to get an injury like that...you hope he recovers as quickly as possible.

"He did look dangerous with the ball in hand, he looked threatening. It was a shame he picked up that injury."

England scrum-half Danny Care stopped the play when he realised the extent of Stoddart's injury. "Jamie Roberts was on the floor saying he was in trouble," said Care. "Delon said the same. I think he was screaming, he was definitely in pain so there it was safety-first, stop play and get him off the pitch.

"If someone is injured you want to stay away from him, you don't want to fall on him or anything. Anyone would have stopped the play. It is such a sad way to get injured. That is the sport we are in. It is a tough, physical sport, injuries are going to happen. You have to be lucky over the next few games (to make the World Cup)."

England suffered their own injury scare after captain Lewis Moody limped off with a problem to the same right knee which kept him out of the Six Nations. But England manager Martin Johnson extended his sympathies to Stoddart.

"I saw when he went down it looked serious," said Johnson. "That is the nasty side of this time (before the World Cup) or the game to the degree. Everyone is trying to get a world cup place and it looked pretty bad for him.

"It is the harsh reality for him. The guys have got to play rugby, they are going to the Wold Cup. They train hard. The medics do everything they can to keep them in one piece but it is the nature of what they do. It is not nice to see."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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