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Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Aussies plan Wembley pitch probe

Matt Dunning lies next to large divots after being injured at Wembley
Matt Dunning lies next to large divots after being injured at Wembley

Australia's rugby authorities are launching an investigation into whether the Wembley pitch contributed to two Wallabies being injured last week.

Props Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu both suffered long-term injuries when a scrum collapsed against the Barbarians.

Players' body Rupa and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have formed a health and safety committee to investigate.

"From discussions I've had it was very, very unstable under foot," said Rupa chief executive Tony Dempsey.

"We're concerned from an occupational health and safety point of view that our members may be asked to play on surfaces that are unstable," added Dempsey, who was speaking to Australia's Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"The employers are the Australian Rugby Union and as such they have a duty of care to ensure safe playing surfaces for the players. It is something definitely worth exploring."

The matter will be investigated by a six-man committee made up of representatives from both Rupa - the Rugby Union Players' Association in Australia - and the ARU.

Dempsey added that the committee "was established to investigate players' safety and welfare and we're looking to see what recommendations can be given to deal with this issue".

Dunning could be out for up to nine months after surgery on his ruptured Achilles while Kepu's torn pectoral muscle means his chances of being fit for the 2009 Super 14 tournament are slim.

"It is always unfortunate to see injuries in any game and our sympathies go out to the players concerned," said a Wembley spokesperson.

"Both teams trained on the pitch the day before the game and were familiar with the playing surface.

"In addition, 3,000 juniors took part in six hours of non-stop rugby before kick-off.

"We are a multi-purpose venue and will always endeavour to provide the best possible playing surface for all events at Wembley."

Australia beat the star-studded Barbarians 18-11 last Wednesday as the Wallabies ended their tour having won four of their six tour matches.

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see also
Barbarians 11-18 Australia
03 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
History of the Barbarians
05 Dec 07 |  Welsh
Wales 21-18 Australia
29 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Williams gets Barbarians call-up
12 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Barbarians 33-14 Combined Services
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union

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