Out of Wales match, Best could play again at RWC
Updated: October 04, 2011, 01:30
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) Rory Best could recover from injury to his right shoulder to play again at the Rugby World Cup if Ireland beats Wales in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Ireland called up uncapped Munster hooker Michael Sherry as precautionary cover on Tuesday, but Best remains an official squad member even though he will almost certainly sit out the match in Wellington after spraining the joint in Sunday's 36-6 win over Italy.
"While he is still rated doubtful for the Wales game, we felt it was prudent to bring Mike Sherry down to New Zealand as precautionary cover,'' team manager Paul McNaughton said. "We expect Mike to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday.''
Ireland would have to apply formally for Sherry to join the 30-man World Cup squad should the need arise.
Damien Varley has already been called into the squad to replace Jerry Flannery.
The nature of the injury meant Best was in danger of being ruled out until after the Oct. 23 final in Auckland, but team officials say he could be playing again before then.
"The medical team has worked very hard with Rory over the last 24 hours and he's reacted well to it,'' kicking coach Mark Tainton said. "We're pleased with the response, so he's not ruled out.
"His chances at the moment are long: he's doubtful for this weekend probably but he's not ruled out of the tournament.''
With Flannery already having withdrawn from the tournament because of injury, Sean Cronin is likely to take Best's place in the front row against Six Nations rival Wales.
Flannery tore his calf muscle in training before he was due to be on the bench in Ireland's pivotal second match against Australia, which his side won 15-6 to take control of Pool C and ultimately finish ahead of the Tri-Nations champions.