(Reuters) - Samoa scrumhalf Scott Malolua has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with a shoulder injury and replaced by Pele Cowley, coach Steve Jackson said ahead of the team’s departure to Japan on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Malolua had a test debut to forget against Australia on Saturday, dislocating his shoulder in a tryline ruck. He faces eight weeks on the sidelines, which will keep him out of the Sept. 20 to Nov. 2 World Cup.
Cowley has represented Samoa in 12 tests and last featured in their 13-10 Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) defeat by the United States in August.
“We’re all gutted for Scott,” Jackson told the RNZ website in Auckland. “He was playing some good rugby. But we all understand that this is the nature of our game. So we need to push forward to Japan.
“And that’s why we’ve brought Cowley into our squad. He spent the PNC with us and so he’s familiar with the playing group and how we want to play the game.”
Cowley said he felt bad for Malolua and that he knows exactly what he is going through.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance in which to be called up. I feel for Scotty,” Cowley said.
“I know what it’s like because the same thing happened to me in 2015 when I did my AC joint in the last game of the PNC against Canada which ruled me out of the World Cup.”
Samoa, World Cup quarter-finalists in 1991 and 1995, kick off their campaign against Russia in Kumagaya on Sept. 24 before facing against Scotland, Japan and Ireland.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.firstname.lastname@example.org; +822 6936 1482