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Thread: Mortlock predicts quarter-final return

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Mortlock predicts quarter-final return

    Mortlock predicts quarter-final return

    26/09/2007 4:59:19 PM
    Sportal

    Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock remains on track for a return in time for the World Cup knockout stages.

    Mortlock's availability for a likely quarter-final showdown with England -provided the defending champions defeat Tonga in their final Pool match on Saturday - could prove crucial given the absence of veteran pivot Stephen Larkham following a second bout of knee surgery.

    "The mindset is that I definitely won't play this week I'm very confident that I'll be right for the following week in the quarter-final," Mortlock said. "The shoulder's going very well, I got into some good weights today at the gym so I'm progressing my rehab now, doing a lot of strength and rehab work with my arm above my shoulder ... and hopefully progressing to a bit of contact later on this week."

    Mortlock remains satisfied with the team's progression where, despite injuries to key players, Australia still managed to seal top spot in Pool B with a match to spare.

    "Prior to the World Cup the major concern for us was probably if we had some major injuries and I think we've dealt with the injuries that we've had very well so I'm very happy with the way the squad have conducted ourselves," he said.

    "We would have liked to probably play a little more cohesive against Fiji on the weekend but given the conditions and the way Fiji played we still did well to rack up 50 points."

    While England must first defeat an in-form Tonga in order to qualify for a sudden-death showdown with Mortlock's men, Mortlock says his players are ready to avenge their extra-time loss in the 2003 World Cup final.

    "It's been spoken about plenty of times before that a lot of guys in the squad are still itching to get one back, so to speak, after how close we came in 03," he said.

    "So there's a lot of incentive for us to be mentally switched on and go out and play well against England in the quarter final."

    But he knows it won't be easy: "They've got a great set-piece and their forward pack is very dominating," Mortlock said.

    "And when they've got a 10 (flyhalf) that controls the game as well as Jonny Wilkinson does and they've got some enterprising backs outside of him, so that will pose a significant challenge."

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Morlock siad this at the Wallaby Embassy in Montpellierlast Friday in between some surprisingly accurate statements about the Irish team he is really looking forward to playing again

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