Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson out of England tour with hamstring injury

Joe Simpson, whose hopes of featuring in the Six Nations 2011 were dashed by a serious shoulder injury, suffered further disappointment on Monday when he was ruled out of England's summer tour with an untimely hamstring strain.

Simpson, 21, will be doubly frustrated because he picked up the injury during a seven-minute appearance against the Barbarians on Sunday when he replaced David Strettle on the wing and scarcely featured in the game.

All of which represents an undeniable setback for Simpson, a star of various England age-group teams, who was really hitting his stride at senior level when he suffered a dislocated shoulder against Harlequins at the end of December.

When he reported lame after the game manager Martin Johnson had little choice but to play safe and call in the fully fit Hodgson from the England Saxons squad. Although England are embarking on a longer summer tour than usual, time is still of the essence and Simpson would undoubtedly have been earmarked to play in some capacity against the Australian Barbarians in the tour opener a week on Tuesday in Perth.

There was better news however for Johnson over his two other injury concerns after the Babarians game. Newcastle prop Jon Golding went off before half-time with what appeared to be a rib injury but was considered fit enough to travel on Monday and will be reassessed on arrival in Perthy. Fly-half Charlie Hodgson took a bang in the face that required stitches but was also fit to travel.

"I am really pleased to be joining Leeds Carnegie at an exciting time for the club," said Thompson, who revived his career with Brive after orginally retiring from the game with a neck injury when he left Northampton. "I spoke to director of rugby Andy Key and head coach Neil Back and have nothing but admiration for what they have done at the club already and what they plan to do in the future.

Meanwhile hooker Steve Thompson, who in the absence of the injured Dylan Hartley will be disputing starting duties on tour with Lee Mears, has confirmed that he will be moving back to England from France next season to play with Leeds, who he will be joining on a two-year contract.

"It was a big decision for me to come back to the Guinness Premiership but it is a challenge I am looking forward to. In all honesty, I have got more nerves about coming back to the Guinness Premiership than I did about coming to France and I think that is a good thing. I am looking for a fresh challenge in my career and Leeds Carnegie is exactly right for me."

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