June International Tours

Balshaw blow for battered England

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England’s tour took another turn for the worse when it was confirmed that wing Iain Balshaw will fly home on Sunday and will take no further part in the two-match tour of South Africa.

The Gloucester back, who was stretchered off during the record 58-10 first Test defeat in Bloemfontein at the weekend with a suspected fracture, has officially been ruled out of England’s second Test against South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday, June 2.

He underwent minor surgery to clean a wound on his right shin, before rejoining the squad on Sunday morning.

However, Balshaw will take no further part in the tour and will fly home on Sunday.

At least England have been able to deliver a more positive fitness bulletin on other players who were injured during a punishing contest at Vodacom Park.

Jonny Wilkinson, who went off with a facial laceration and a bruised lower back late in the seven-try-to-one rout, is expected to train later this week together with flanker Andy Hazell, who sustained bruising to his left knee.

Hazell’s fellow flanker Pat Sanderson underwent checks on his neck, but England say that has settled well and he will be fit to train on Monday.

Stomach virus victim David Strettle, meanwhile, was discharged from hospital Saturday and has rejoined the squad, with Andy Farrell and Peter Richards continuing their recovery from the same virus that meant they missed Saturday’s game.

The Balshaw setback comes on the back of the loss of players like prop Nick Wood (pectoral muscle tear), scrum-half Peter Richards (stomach virus), centre Andy Farrell (virus) and wing David Strettle (muscle tear) – all in the build-up to the record loss in Bloemfontein.

As it is the English team arrived without 60-odd of their top players, who were all involved in European club finals or injured.

 

365 Digital

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