Monday, June 18, 2012
England scrum-half Ben Youngs has been ruled out of the rest of the South Africa tour with a shoulder injury.
The 22-year-old, from Norwich, impressed by scoring two tries in the second Test loss to the Springboks on Saturday but head coach Stuart Lancaster has confirmed he can play no further part in the series.
Youngs, who grew up playing for North Walsham and Holt, was taken off after 74 minutes of the 36-27 loss in Johannesburg but there was no indication after the game that he had suffered an injury.
His withdrawal could offer the chance for Lee Dickson or Danny Care to start next week’s third Test in Port Elizabeth while he will be replaced in the squad by Harlequins’ Karl Dickson.
Lancaster said: “He has picked up a shoulder injury.
“He didn’t present it until the end of the game obviously but it was only when we got back and he was struggling to move it – he is out of the tour.
“From our point of view he was excellent for us in the second Test, he really played well and he is devastated.
“But opportunities present themselves for other players – Lee Dickson and Danny Care – and we have got Lee’s brother Karl winging in from Alicante.
“Karl was somewhere in Spain but we have managed to get him to Heathrow and he is on his way now.”
Karl Dickson, 29, is flying overnight and will link up with the squad in time to come into consideration for Tuesday’s tour match against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom.
Speaking after the final whistle, Youngs admitted England’s poor start had ‘killed’ them as they slipped to series defeat in Johannesburg.
Willem Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis and Francois Hougaard claimed early tries for the Springboks as England were overrun at Coca-Cola Park.
Youngs crossed twice as England put themselves in sight of an unlikely victory after trailing 28-10, but JP Pietersen ended the comeback.
The former Greshams pupil said: “The first 20 mins killed us unfortunately and we were always playing catch-up. Great spirit by the boys but at the end it didn’t count for much.
“Now we’ve lost the series but we’ve got one more big effort next week. It was a great effort and great heart from the boys but we can’t give them the first 20 minutes like that and be playing catch-up in a game like this.”
Lancaster was unable to comment on the exact nature of Youngs’ injury and whether or not he faces a lengthy lay-off.
Youngs’ performance and opportunistic tries were key factors in England’s revival at Coca-Cola Park after they had fallen behind 28-10 early in the second half.
Lancaster said: “The imaging has only just got back and only just gone to the specialist in London.
“I don’t know – the specialist has not seen the imaging yet.