Suspension and injury worries for Australia
Australia's World Cup campaign could be damaged by injuries to vastly experienced forwards John Eales and Phil Kearns - and a disciplinary worry over back-rower Toutai Kefu.
Eales and Kearns, veterans of the Wallaby side that won the World Cup in 1991, limped from the field during the Australians' 23-3 Group E win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Sunday.
Captain Eales, who has missed most of this season with a shoulder injury, suffered a groin strain and left the field in the second half. The Australian medical staff will monitor the injury overnight, said coach Rod Macqueen.
Hooker Kearns suffered a foot injury during the first half and his condition is causing the Australians more concern.
He was taken for x-rays after the match and Australia could be forced to call up a replacement if he is seriously hurt.
When Jeremy Paul left the field for the blood-bin during the game, prop Dan Crowley had to act as makeshift hooker. Michael Foley is the third hooker in the squad, but he was not on the bench on Sunday.
A third concern for the Australians is the fact that Kefu could be cited for punching during the Ireland match.
Kefu, who scored three tries in Australia's opening victory over Romania, was involved in a flare-up with Irish forward Trevor Brennan in which both men appeared to throw punches that landed.
If Kefu is cited, he could face a ban of two or three weeks.
"It's too early, but I'm sure he'll be fine," said Macqueen. "I'm very confident there won't be a citing. We got the penalty."
Kefu's teammate David Wilson said the number eight had acted in self-defence.
"It was just heat of the moment stuff," said Wilson. "Toutai was just defending himself."
Former Australian captain Nick Farr-Jones is also hopeful Kefu will escape punishment.
"The good thing for Australia is that the referee addressed the incident during the match," Farr-Jones said. "After all, this is rugby."
With Australia having already qualified for the quarter-finals, both Eales and former skipper Kearns could miss their game against the United States next Thursday in Limerick without causing inconvenience.
The Australians will not play their quarter-final against Wales, Samoa or Argentina until October 23.