PRETORIA - Australia's change-room resembled a casualty ward as they were battered on and off the scoreboard in their Rugby Championship Test against South Africa.
With ageless Springboks winger Bryan Habana scoring a hat-trick, Australia lost 31-8 as all hope of cracking their first win at Springboks' strong-hold Loftus Versfeld fell flat with the side suffering a shocking injury toll.
Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes and Radike Samo all suffered what appeared to be serious injuries.
Digby Ioane was also forced off in the second half with a knee problem, with the Wallabies so short on backs they had to resort to shifting halfback Nick Phipps to the wing.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau also left late in the game with a shoulder injury as the Australians were forced to play with only 14 men with uncontested scrums after they had used their seven substitutions.
Ashley-Cooper was knocked out cold when his head hit the knee of South Africa fullback Zane Kirchner as he made a try-saving tackle just over a minute before half-time and was taken from the field on a medi-cab.
He was taken to hospital where he was cleared by a CT scan.
They lost Barnes 10 minutes earlier with a chest injury, which also required an x-ray, while Samo suffered a shoulder injury early in the second half.
The Australians trailed 14-3 at half-time, which could have been much greater but for the home side missing four penalty kicks.