Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rugby: Paul Hodgson replaces injured Joe Simpson for England

England have been forced to make a late change to their squad before departing on Monday for their five-match tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson, one of nine uncapped players in the party, sustained a hamstring injury as a late replacement against the Barbarians.

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson and Newcastle prop Jon Golding, who both picked up knocks on Sunday, are fit to travel.

Hodgson, who left the field with blood pouring from a nose injury, and Golding, who was forced off after a blow to the ribs, will be reassessed when the squad arrives in Perth on Tuesday.

It is the second untimely injury blow for 21-year-old Simpson, who was also ruled out of Six Nations 2011 contention after dislocating his shoulder in December.

He only appeared as a replacement for the last nine minutes against the Barbarians in his first England game, taking over from David Strettle on the wing.

"We are extremely disappointed for Joe," said Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks. "I am confident Joe would have made a very strong impression on the tour and performed really well, but now our focus is on getting him back to full fitness."

The 28-year-old, who has won nine caps but started just two Tests since his debut in 2008, will compete with Youngs, Danny Care and Richard Wigglesworth for the number nine jersey down under.

Paul Hodgson, who was originally named in the Saxons squad heading to North America for the Churchill Cup, appeared as a replacement in England's first three matches of this year's Six Nations.

But he lost his place in the match-day squad to Leicester's emerging prospect Ben Youngs for the last two rounds, and was overlooked for the original tour squad despite the presence of four scrum-halves.

England play a further game against the Australian Barbarians in Gosford on 15 June and a second Test with the Wallabies in Sydney on 19 June, before their final tour match against the New Zealand Maori in Napier on 23 June.

Paul Hodgson has been replaced in the Saxons squad by Northampton scrum-half Lee Dickson, while Leeds hooker Andy Titterrell will come in for George Chuter in the front row.

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