SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's third-place finish at the Rugby World Cup showed some positives although the effort was still only "semi-succcessful," according to Wallaby captain James Horwill.
The Australians returned home Saturday from New Zealand less than 24 hours after beating Wales 21-18 in the bronze medal match Friday. Australia lost to New Zealand in the semifinals, with the All Blacks going on to play France in Sunday's final.
"We were going there to win it and we didn't do that, but there's a lot of positives," Horwill said Saturday from Sydney airport. "It was a semi-successful tournament, we didn't achieve what we wanted to and that was winning it."
Coach Robbie Deans said he was not satisfied with his team's performance.
"Obviously not, we went there with aspirations of winning, so we are not happy to that end," Deans said. "But I am proud of the effort the boys put in and the way they hung together in what was a challenging environment at times."
Back Quade Cooper, injured early in the Wales match, is expected to have a medical scan on a suspected anterior cruciate ligament knee damage that could sideline him for several months.
Among other injuries, veteran lock Dan Vickerman and center Pat McCabe could require operations, while fullback Kurtley Beale and backrowers Wycliff Palu and Rocky Elsom are in doubt for a two-match northern hemisphere tour in November.
Australia plays the Barbarians at Twickenham on Nov. 26 and then has a rematch with Wales on Dec. 3 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.