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15 Oct 2007 15:06
Winger Josh Lewsey has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup final with a hamstring tear, England officials said on Monday.
Lewsey, who played in the 2003 final victory over Australia, was forced off with the injury near the end of the first half of Saturday’s 14-9 semifinal win over France.
The 30-year-old, who scored the only try of the game after less than two minutes, was ruled out of the final against South Africa after his scan revealed a grade one tear.
After Lewsey went off against France, Mathew Tait switched to the wing with Dan Hipkiss coming on at outside centre.
Both players performed well but with South Africa carrying a high-paced threat on both flanks through JP Pietersen and eight-try Bryan Habana, coach Brian Ashton knows his selection in that area is vital.
Tait is fast but not as defensively assured as Lewsey, though few wingers are, and Ashton will be anxious to disrupt his winning team as little as possible.
Mark Cueto, who began the tournament at fullback before switching to the wing then losing his place in the squad for the last two games, is the other obvious alternative.
Ashton is scheduled to name his team for the final on Wednesday.—Reuters
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