Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Rogers to skip S Africa trip in favor of surgery

AP , SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Mat Rogers, Australia's backup playmaker, will undergo knee surgery this week and will miss the last 2006 Tri-Nations rugby international in South Africa.

Scott Staniforth was drafted in yesterday as cover in Australia's 25-man squad, which leaves on Friday for Johannesburg to finetune for the Sept. 9 match.

Rogers had already sustained damage to his left knee when he went on as a substitute for Stephen Larkham in Australia's 34-27 loss to New Zealand in Auckland on Aug. 17.

He said that by having the arthroscopic surgery now, he should be fit for Australia's November tour to Europe.

"I've had [the injury] for a couple of weeks and I was hoping it would have pulled up a bit better than it has," Rogers said. "I'm disappointed to miss out on the Springboks match because I feel that we've got a great chance of winning a test on their soil, which hasn't been done for a long time."

Australia has not won a rugby international in South Africa since 2000, although it did register two home wins over the Springboks in this Tri-Nations campaign.

New Zealand has retained the title and improved to 5-0 after a win in Pretoria on the weekend, while South Africa is 0-4 with two matches remaining.

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