Players blast short Old Trafford in-goals in final
DAVID LONG IN MANCHESTER
Kiwis wing Manu Vatuvei says Old Trafford was "too dangerous" to host a World Cup final.
Vatuvei was lucky not to come away with a serious injury in the Kiwis' 34-2 loss to the Kangaroos at the home of the Manchester United Football Club.
The stadium had in-goals about 4m deep, after which there was a steep drop and then metal LED advertising hoardings.
In the second half Kangaroos wing Brett Morris smashed into the hoardingsafter scoring a try and shortly after at the other end Vatuvei leapt fearlessly to try and catch a bomb.
He was unable to do that, but his body bounced off the concrete floor at the bottom of the slope and then crashed into the hoardings.
There was always the risk of incidents like this happening and the Kangaroos' Johnathan Thurston expressed his fears about the venue the day before the game.
As it turned out, Thurston was correct and it is remarkable that no players picked up a serious injury in the final.
"It was too dangerous, but you've got to play with it," Vatuvei said.
"I am honoured to play on this historic field, I came out all right."
Vatuvei said he realised he might end up hurting himself as he jumped for the ball, but as this was a World Cup final, personal safety had to come second.
"I put my body on the line for the brothers," he said. "I'd die for the jersey and the country and I did my best there. We said during the week that we'd put our bodies on the line."
Meanwhile, Morris said he also made the decision that he would risk personal injury to score for Australia.
"The main priority was I wanted to score the try, obviously putting your body on the line you want to get the four points," said Morris, who bruised his hip in the collision.
"We spoke about the short in goals and if there was a chance to score a try 30 centimetres from the in goal we were going to put our bodies on the line.
"I knew there wasn't much going to stop me other than the hoarding at the end of the field but we are playing for Australia and you have got to put your body on the line. Pain is temporary."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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