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Australia first five-eighths Quade Cooper will undergo surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will be sidelined for at least six months, the Australian Rugby Union said in a statement Sunday.
The ARU said Cooper, injured in the first half of Australia's 21-18 win over Wales in the Rugby World Cup third-place playoff on Friday in Auckland, New Zealand, visited a surgeon in Brisbane on Sunday to map out a recovery plan.
The ARU said the 23-year-old Cooper will undergo an MRI scan next week before having surgery to reconstruct the ACL, while also repairing his lateral ligament, adding "the recovery timeline on the injury is expected to be a minimum of six months."
It will most likely rule Cooper out of the start of the 2012 Super 15 season.
The Wallabies playmaker led the Queensland Reds to the Super 15 championship this season and helped Australia win the Tri-Nations title for the first time in a decade, but was not able to repeat that form at the World Cup.
Appearing to be affected by the hostile treatment from New Zealand spectators, the Kiwi-born Cooper struggled in many of his matches, particularly in Australia's pool loss to Ireland and again in the Wallabies' narrow quarterfinal win over South Africa and their loss to New Zealand in the semis.
The ARU didn't want to comment further, but Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said immediately after Cooper's injury Friday that he thought surgery was the likely option.
"Having experienced it myself and having witnessed the event I suspect it's a ruptured ACL," Deans said.
"You actually come back with a stronger ACL. He'll be back playing Super rugby but obviously that whole experience and that adversity will challenge him. But no doubt he'll come out of that stronger for it."
Australia will play a one-off test against Wales at Cardiff on Dec. 3.