Wales rally around Stoddart
August 7, 2011
Morgan Stoddart is tended to by medics after suffering a leg break in Saturday's game at Twickenham © Getty Images
Morgan Stoddart's Wales and Scarlets team-mates are ready to give him all the support he needs after his World Cup dream was shattered by an horrific injury.
As the Wales players begin to prepare for a Millennium Stadium rematch against England next Saturday, Stoddart remains in London's Charing Cross Hospital awaiting further assessment on a broken left leg.
The 26-year-old only started Wales' opening World Cup preparation Test at Twickenham after Stephen Jones pulled out during the warm-up with a tight calf muscle. But barely an hour later, the Scarlets wing or fullback was carried off, an oxygen mask clutched to his face and any hope of flying to New Zealand later this month cruelly destroyed.
And his absence will be a major blow for Wales coach Warren Gatland, who was unable to pick injured fullback Lee Byrne (knee) and wing Leigh Halfpenny (ankle) against England.
Stoddart scored two tries from three starts during last season's Six Nations Championship, and he was expected to feature among the 30-man World Cup squad Gatland will announce on August 22.
"It is heartbreaking for him," said Wales centre Jamie Roberts. "He is a great fella who has trained very hard over the last couple of months."
Stoddart suffered the injury when he was tackled by England fullback Delon Armitage, having just intercepted a pass, and the extent of it quickly became clear.
England scrum-half Danny Care helped stop play quickly so Stoddart could receive urgent medical attention. Care, Riki Flutey and Richard Wigglesworth are among England players who have tweeted their best wishes to Stoddart.
Wales centre Jonathan Davies, a Scarlets colleague of Stoddart's, added: "It is terrible news. I am gutted for him because he has worked so hard to get here in the last couple of months.
"I know rugby is a hard game, but when you see a friend that you play rugby with every day pick up an injury like that, it is tough to take. I just wish him a speedy recovery and hope he gets back to full fitness."
And Gatland added: "You have got to feel for him. 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.
"Morgan looked dangerous with the ball in hand, he looked threatening. It was a shame he picked up that injury."
Sympathy and concern was etched all over the England players' faces after Stoddart went down near the touchline in front of Twickenham's East Stand.
"Jamie Roberts was on the floor saying he (Stoddart) was in trouble," recalled 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 and injuries are going to happen. You have to be lucky over the next few games (to make the World Cup)."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby
Huw Richards Rewinds to 1975 when three Welsh legends were handed their debuts and assesses their legacy
Seven places in the Champions Cup quarter-finals are up for grabs; we break down the permutations for each group in the final round of matches