Tag Archives: replacements

Demba Ba begs Rafa Benitez to play him and Fernando Torres up front together for Chelsea

Play me and Torres up front… we'll blast Chelsea back into the Champions League, insists Ba

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

14:45 GMT, 19 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 19 April 2013

Demba Ba has told Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez that he and Fernando Torres are ready to start up front together in Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Liverpool.

Benitez has rotated the two strikers in a 4-2-3-1 formation since Ba joined from Newcastle in January but the pair combined effectively in the second half of last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City.

Benitez faces a selection dilemma with Torres desperate to start at his former club and Ba's form in front of goal making him hard to ignore – but the Senegalese insists they can play together.

Ba

Torres

Partners in crime Demba Ba (left) has said he wants to play with Fernando Torres (right) up front for Chelsea

He told the London Evening Standard:
'When he came on the pitch against City he helped me a lot. We caused
them problems so I think we could play together.

'We combined against Brentford earlier
in the competition, too, so I don’t believe it would be a problem for
us. Most of the time we have to fight against the two central defenders
on our own. If you have an extra body there, it makes it easier.

'This is also very important in
football, to be able to control the game. I would understand if Fernando
wants to start against Liverpool. We’re not making the decision but I
would understand if he does.

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

Chelsea

Meanwhile, Benitez insists he is
focused only on the immediate future and not his past with Liverpool as
he prepares to take his Chelsea side to Anfield.

In a press conference on Friday the
Spaniard declined to assess Liverpool since his departure in June 2010
or to talk about events at Anfield ahead of his first return as an
opposing manager.

'I have a lot of respect, but I have to concentrate on my team,' Benitez said.

'I don't want any misunderstanding, so
I will concentrate just on Chelsea and the game and try to enjoy it,
especially if we can win.'

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Benitez is expected to receive a warm
welcome in the week which marked both his 53rd birthday and the 24th
anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

He spent six years at Anfield, helping
Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League in his first season, the FA Cup,
the Community Shield and European Super Cup, while the Reds finished
second in the Premier League in 2008-09.

His family home remains on Merseyside
and he supports the campaigners in their fight for justice for the 96
supporters killed at Hillsborough in 1989.

His is a lasting bond with Liverpool, but Benitez's aim is to defeat his former club.

'I'm a professional and I am committed
with Chelsea until the end of the season, to win, to achieve our
targets,' said Benitez, who is out of contract at the end of the
campaign.

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

'I was there for six years, winning a lot of things together.

'They (Liverpool supporters) will
appreciate that, but at the same time they will try to support their
team and they will understand that I have to try to do my best and win.'

Benitez recently was quoted as saying
he wanted to return 'home' to Liverpool and that his wish was to move to
a top club, possibly in England next season.

That was interpreted by some as a possible return to Liverpool, but Benitez meant his family home.

For reasons of clarity, the Spaniard declined the opportunity to appraise Reds incumbent Brendan Rodgers.

'I have a lot of respect for Liverpool Football Club and all their managers,' he said.

'What I said clearly is Liverpool is
my home, my family is living there and because I don't want any
misunderstanding, I will not talk about the club, the position or the
manager's position or whatever. My family's there, it's my home.'

Luca di Montezemolo: I"d want Sebastian Vettel not Lewis Hamilton to replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari

Forget Hamilton, I'd want Vettel to replace Alonso at Ferrari, claims Di Montezemolo

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UPDATED:

18:40 GMT, 20 December 2012

Lewis Hamilton is lagging behind Sebastian Vettel on Ferrari's wishlist of a potential replacements for current team leader Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo revealed he is a greater admirer of Vettel's talents than those of Hamilton when asked who he would like to take over when Alonso decides to call it a day.

'If, tomorrow, Fernando would withdraw for any reason – let's say he moves to Hawaii with his girlfriend – then I would want Vettel,' said the Ferrari president to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Moving on: Hamilton will race for Mercedes next season

Moving on: Hamilton will race for Mercedes next season

'He is young, he has his feet on the floor, and he has an indomitable will to win. Michael Schumacher made me aware of him years ago because he knew him from his karting years. I must say, Michael was right.'

Seemingly ruling our Hamilton's chances of driving for Ferrari, di Montezemolo claimed his decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes counts against him.

Asked why he preferred Vettel to Hamilton, di Montezemolo replied: 'Because he (Vettel) is younger, and because Ferrari would be Hamilton's third team. And if you've reached your third team, your career is already in its second half.'

Even hints by Vettel that Ferrari had used 'dirty tricks' to try and derail his pursuit of a third successive world title do not seem to have dented his chances of a move to Maranello.

Hat-trick: Vettel claimed his third world title this season

Hat-trick: Vettel claimed his third world title this season

'In the heat of battle you can always say something emotional,' said Di Montezemolo.

Given the increasingly fierce rivalry between Vettel and Alonso there seems little prospect of the pair sharing a garage at Ferrari until the Spaniard decides to call it a day.

And Di Montezemolo insisted he would be only too delighted if Alonso opts to see out the remaining three years of his contract with Ferrari.

He added: 'I'm incredibly happy with him. He is more than just a driver.'

Long-term contract: Alonso still has three years to run on his Ferrari deal

Long-term contract: Alonso still has three years to run on his Ferrari deal

With Hamilton having already admitted he is unlikely to be in the title frame next season as he strives to turn Mercedes into frontrunners, the drivers' championship has all the hallmarks of being another titanic battle between Vettel and Alonso.

However, Jenson Button will hopeful of forcing his way into the title picture if McLaren can find the required reliability to go with the speed advantage they enjoyed last season.

McLaren's 2013 challenger, the Mercedes-powered MP4-28, will break cover on January 31 at a launch ceremony in the UK.

Dan Carter misses Wales v New Zealand with leg injury

Carter forced out of All Blacks team for Wales showdown after suffering leg injury

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 23 November 2012


Superstar: All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter

Superstar: All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter

Dan Carter has been ruled out of the New Zealand team for tomorrow’s Test match against Wales in Cardiff.

The fly-half Carter will be replaced by Aaron Cruden, with Beauden Barrett joining the replacements’ bench.

Carter, who has won 93 caps, suffered a leg injury during All Blacks training at the University of Glamorgan yesterday.

In nine appearances against Wales he has scored 162 points and never been on the losing side.

There has so far been no official confirmation from the All Blacks camp surrounding his withdrawal.

Carter, though, has Tweeted a picture of All Blacks training inside the Millennium Stadium this afternoon. In the same post, he said: 'Gutted not to be playing with these boys in this stadium tomorrow'.

LIVE: England v Fiji

England 33 Fiji 0: Follow all the action from Twickenham as it happens

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UPDATED:

15:52 GMT, 10 November 2012

England kick-off the QBE autumn internationals against Fiji where they can lay the foundations for a successful series involving the world's best teams. Stuart Lancaster's side are massive favourites for the opening clash at Twickenham and Sportsmail will bring you all the action as it happens.

England v Fji

ENGLAND – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Joe Marler, 7 Tom Youngs, 6 Dan Cole, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Geoff Parling , 3 Tom Johnson, 2 Chris Robshaw, 1 Thomas Waldrom.

Replacements: Paice, Wilson, Vunipola, Launchbury, Wood, Youngs, Farrell, Brown.

FIJI – 15 Simeli Koniferedi, 14 Samu Wara, 13 VEreniki Goneva, 12 Sireli Naqelevuki, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Metuisela Talebula, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Api Naikatini, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Penijamini Makutu

Replacements: Somoca, Naureure, Manasa, Kalou, Ratuva, Bola, Fatiaki, Matavesi.

49min: CONVERSION! England 35 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

England must be buoyed by these early exchanges in the second-half. There are gaps appearing all over the field. The phrase I'm thinking of is: fill your boots.

49min: TRY! England 33 Fiji 0 (Tom Johnson)

Fourth try of the afternoon for England. Once again Fiji are sucked in and the hosts work it wide to Johnson who drops over the line, totally unopposed.

47min: England profligate in front of the try line. Danny Care shimmies and shakes, but is held up five metres short. And then Dan Cole goes over the lines but is turned round and held up.

43min: PENALTY! England 28 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

Straight forward effort for Flood who sends the ball over from 25 metres out.

42min: The scrum is once again proving to be a real problem for Fiji who collapse again all too easily. Penalty for England, Toby Flood stands over it.

SECOND-HALF: Suitably refreshed good. Toby Flood gets the match restarted.

HALF-TIME: ENGLAND 25 FIJI 0

A rusty start for Stuart Lancaster's charges, but once they found a modicum of rhythm the Fijians looked outclassed at every encounter. Job well done thus far, fancy it will be a very long next 40 for the Pacific Islanders.

42min: England 25 Fiji 0 (Ugo Monye)

Cherry on the cake for England as Monye shimmies his hips on the wing and crosses for an all-too-easy score. Flood's conversion effort rattles off the upright. And that is that.

38min: England unlucky not to score another try, Flood and Care right at the heart of all the positive play, the ball works wide, Sharples kicks forward and it looks like he's just got the ball down. But replays show the last bounce took the ball *this far* into touch.

37min: CONVERSION! England 20 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

Over it goes, England looking good for their lead now. One more score before half-time would round-off a decent first 40.

Contact: Waldrom is tackled by Qera

Contact: Waldrom is tackled by Qera

36min: PENALTY TRY! England 18 Fiji 0 England smell blood with a pair of scrums under the Fijians posts. The first collapses, the second is broken by the Fijian hooker and the referee has no option but to award a penalty try.

33min: Oh, good grief, what an absolute howler. England waste a guilt-edged chance to extend their lead further. Flood draws the defenders in, but the ball is worked wide and there a three man overlap, which is lobbed into touch somehow.

The view from Cardiff with Sportsmail's Luke Bendict: Well that's the end of a nightmare week for Jamie Roberts. He was desperate for an explosive return to Welsh rugby after it was announced this week that he'll quit Cardiff Blues this summer, but instead he hobbles off after a horrible clash of heads. He looked like he'd gone 12 rounds with Tyson. There was no way he could play on.

29min: YELLOW CARD! Now the Fijians are down to 14 after their captain is shown a yellow card for some rather cynical stuff in the ruck. And now he's put his side under huge pressure.

26min: PENALTY! England 13 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

England pile forward and there's a hand in the ruck by a Fiji player. Flood dips the ball over from no ore than 10 metres out. Stuart Lancaster's side have blown away the cobwebs now and are looking good.

23min: CONVERSION! England 10 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

England extend their lead, Flood makes no mistake.

22min: TRY! England 8 Fiji 0 (Charlie Sharples)

It's a great finish from Sharples who scores his first try for England, but Fiji will be kicking themselves. Tuilagi feeds Goode who hands to Sharples whose angled run cuts a swathe through the Fiji defence he brushes off three tackles and just makes it over the line.

21min: Danny Care returns and we're back to 15 v 15 again.

20min: PENALTY! England 3 Fiji 0 (Toby Flood)

Flood sends the ball over for the first three points of the match. Twickenham sighs with relief.

Sharp stuff: England finally get on the scoreboard courtesy of Sharples' try

Sharp stuff: England finally get on the scoreboard courtesy of Sharples' try

19min: Much, much, much (much) better phases from England. Workign the ball left and right, Flood nearly found the gap and Parling did his best to pile through. The up-shot England penalty… Flood stands over it.

17min: Fiji spun another decent penalty chance. England should be six-down inside the first 15. The crowd are getting restless, they want to see some quality in hand from their charges.

14min: England defending desperately deep inside their 22, Fiji pressing and probing for a weak spot. This is NOT a good start. Some respite for the hosts as Fiji make a hash of a scrum, Flood can lump clear.

12min: Real scare for England as the Fiji forwards cut a swathe through the heart of the England defence. Some last-ditch stuff from Tuilagi and Barritt halt the charge.

10min: Early blow for England as Danny Care is shown a yellow card for a spear tackle. We're shown the incident again and it looks like a mighty harsh decision.

(in other news: South Africa prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira was treated in hospital today after suffering mild heart palpitations – but we hear he has now left)

6min: It's all a bit scrappy in these early stages. Neither side retaining possession with much grace, England have steamrolled the visitors in the first scrum and Fiji wasted a very kickable penalty attempt.

2min: First lineout for Youngs to negotiate, which he does with without too much fuss.

KICK-OFF: Fiji start the match, it's knocked forward, England clear their lines…

2.28: How rude of me, we have the pleasure of watching the Fijians lay down the gauntlet with the 'Cibi' war dance before kick-off. Plenty of eyes bulging, and thigh slapping. They look like they mean it to me.

2.24: HQ is packed to the rafters. Huge expectation building ahead of kick-off. Players are in the tunnel, we'll have anthems, then action very soon. Tidy.

England expects: The fans are in good spirits ahead of kick-off at Twickenham

England expects: The fans are in good spirits ahead of kick-off at Twickenham

England expects: The fans are in good spirits ahead of kick-off at Twickenham

2.20: Huge focus on Tom Youngs at No 2 today. England's hooker will be at the heart of the lineout – have a butchers at Ben Kay's analysis of the fine art behind throwing.

2.15: Granted, Fiji aren't a team stacked with famous faces. If you're playing catch up, have a read of Rob Wildman's scouting report. Quick, kick-off is only 15 minutes away.

2.10: Stuart Lancaster says today is time for England to 'produce the goods'. Read Chris Foy's match preview right here.

2pm: Hello there, this is going to be a cake walk, right England begin their autumn internationals this afternoon against an under strength Fiji side at Rugby HQ – there's much talk of a victory margin of 50-plus. Nothing quite like setting yourself up for a fall.

Afternoon all and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of England v Fiji from Twickenham. The hosts are massive favourites to put the Pacific Islanders to the sword and will be hoping to put on a show in front of the 82,000 fans packed into the stadium in south-west London.

I'll bring you all the action as it happens and you can fire your thoughts in this direction: [email protected] or you can Tweet.

England expects: Chris Robshaw will lead his team out against Fiji in the first of the Autumn Tests

England expects: Chris Robshaw will lead his team out against Fiji in the first of the Autumn Tests

Portugal v Northern Ireland: Grant McCann and Alex Bruce ruled out

Blow for Northern Ireland as McCann and Bruce pull out of Portugal clash

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UPDATED:

12:11 GMT, 13 October 2012

Grant McCann and Alex Bruce have withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Portugal, the Irish Football Association have confirmed.

Peterborough midfielder McCann has a knee problem and Hull defender Bruce a groin injury and both have returned to their clubs.

Manager Michael O'Neill has not called up any replacements at this stage.

Portugal lost 1-0 to Russia on Friday to sit second in Group F on six points from three games. Northern Ireland have one point from two matches.

Injury blow: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will be without Alex Bruce and Grant McCann in Portugal

Injury blow: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will be without Alex Bruce and Grant McCann in Portugal

Kieran Richardson to move to Fulham from Sunderland for 2m

Richardson set for Fulham move as Sunderland accept 2m bid for midfielder

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 28 August 2012

Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson is on the brink of a 2million move to Fulham.

The former Manchester United midfielder is in talks with Martin Jol after Sunderland accepted a bid.

Martin O'Neill said: 'A club have made an offer for him today, we have accepted that and given Kieran the chance to look at that. If he comes back I will be pleased but I think he wanted to pursue this and we'll see what comes of it.'

Heading south: Kieran Richardson (right) looks set for Fulham

Heading south: Kieran Richardson (right) looks set for Fulham

Richardson was not included in the 18 for the Capital One Cup second round victory over Morecambe, and O'Neill revealed the reason afterwards.

He said: 'A club has made an offer for him today and we, as a club, have accepted that, and it gives Kieran the opportunity to find out for himself.

'If it doesn't materialise and he comes back, I'll still be pleased, but it's a position we might have to go and have a look at.

'Jack [Colback] played very, very well there tonight, but Kieran wanted to pursue this and have a look at this, finding we had accepted the offer, and I will see what comes of it.'

It would come as no surprise if the former Manchester United player, who is in the final year of his contract, did leave the Stadium of Light after weeks of speculation over his future.

O'Neill has already been linked with a series of replacements, and he confirmed he would look to make progress on that front if a deal was to go through.

He said: 'It is something, if Kieran does go, that we would have to look at.'

Arsene Wenger: Trust me (but is Olivier Giroud the new Gervinho?)

Trust me, says Wenger… but is Giroud the new Gervinho

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 26 August 2012

Arsene Wenger called for Arsenal's supporters to trust his judgment as Robin van Persie's departure was once more keenly felt at the Britannia Stadium.

Wenger's attack followed up last week's blank against Sunderland by firing another one in the Potteries during a goalless draw with Stoke as the replacements for the departed RVP failed to find their cutting edge.

Feeling the strain, Arsene: The Arsenal boss has called on fans to trust him

Feeling the strain, Arsene: The Arsenal boss has called on fans to trust him

Neither Lukas Podolski nor Olivier Giroud convinced and there was little from Gervinho on a day when defences were on top.

But Wenger asked for patience after the final whistle, saying the Gunners will make good that loss by several players chipping in, saying: 'I'm having the same questions now with Robin van Persie as I did when Thierry Henry left.

Under fire: But Wenger has eased the growing pressure on new boy Giroud

Under fire: But Wenger has eased the growing pressure on new boy Giroud

'Last season I had to answer, “Why do you play Van Persie as a centre forward” And you don't have to convince me that we have lost an exceptional player. I was the first to say that.

'We have to get around that by sharing more of the goals than we did before with Van Persie. If Giroud scores 20 and Podolski scores 20, we will get goals. I'm convinced about that.

New kid on the block: Podolski is still finding his feet at Arsenal

New kid on the block: Podolski is still finding his feet at Arsenal

'We have to share them around. But, a month ago, they did not know each other. The understanding is missing, but it will come.

'We have work to do on the training ground but you can feel the potential. The understanding can come quickly. But the more it is spoken about, the bigger the problem becomes.

'Giroud should not think he is a replacement for Van Persie in the number of goals. We want to play as a team and if we play well as a team, we will score goals.'

Olivier Giroud v Gervinho

The ill-will between the two clubs was never far from the surface but failed to flare up as the teams, well managed by referee Lee Mason, just about kept their tempers.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: 'I'm pleased with a point, although we were disappointing going forward. We looked unbalanced, but our commitment was first-class. As a club, we must never become blase about taking a point from the likes of Arsenal.'

Daniel Sturridge allowed to rejoin Team GB

Sturridge back in business as striker given green light to join Team GB

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 15 July 2012

Daniel Sturridge has been given the green light to start his Olympic adventure.

The Chelsea forward will meet up with his Team GB team-mates for the first time on Monday afternoon after being given the all-clear by Blues doctors following his bout of viral meningitis.

Stuart Pearce’s side return from their Spanish training camp on the same day and Sturridge will join up with the squad at the Olympic Village immediately.

Ready: Daniel Sturridge has been given the green light

Ready: Daniel Sturridge has been given the green light

Sturridge has started light training at Chelsea’s Cobham base as he looks to build up his fitness ahead of Team GB’s opener against Senegal at Old Trafford on July 26.

The news will come as a huge boost to Pearce, with Sturridge expected to be his side’s first-choice striker during the Games.

Boost: Stuart Pearce is expected to make Sturridge his main man

Boost: Stuart Pearce is expected to make Sturridge his main man

Question marks remain over Sturridge’s match fitness after recovering from his illness, but speaking last week Pearce insisted he would include the England international in his plans as long as he was given a clean bill of health before July 25 — the deadline for naming any squad replacements.

The 22-year-old will hope to complete a full week of training and then play some part in Team GB’s warm-up friendly against Brazil at the Riverside Stadium on Friday.

Arsenal crisis as Alisher Usmanov attacks club in open letter after Robin van Persie snub

You don't know what you're doing! Arsenal chief Kroenke blasted by Usmanov after Van Persie's contract row

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UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 5 July 2012

Arsenal are threatening to head into meltdown after Alisher Usmanov launched an attack on the club.

After being hit by Robin van Persie's refusal to sign a new contract, the Gunners hierarchy have now been questioned in an open letter from Red & White Holdings – which is fronted by Russian billionaire Usmanov.

It turns up the heat on owner Stan Kroenke as the club battles to stay among the Barclays Premier League's elite.

Hitting out: Russian-based billionaire and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov (L),sat beside Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, has launched an attack on the cluib

Hitting out: Russian-based billionaire and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov (L),sat beside Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, has launched an attack on the cluib

Arsenal's second-biggest shareholders have written to Kroenke expressing 'deep reservations' about how the American is running the club.

Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri claim that a 'tight' financial regime is leading to manager Arsene Wenger selling his best players and 'having to continue to find cheaper replacements.'

They complain that 'we are faced with losing our true marquee player' because we cannot 'give confidence that we can win trophies,' asking 'where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again'

The pair own just under 30 per cent of Arsenal through investment company Red & White but haven't been allowed on the board by Kroenke.

More to follow…

Phil Dowson hamstring injury forces Second Test pull out

Waldrom replaces Dowson for England's second South Africa Test after hamstring injury

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UPDATED:

10:13 GMT, 15 June 2012

Northampton forward Phil Dowson has been forced to pull out of England's second Test against South Africa with a hamstring injury.

The back rower, who had been named on the bench for the clash in Johannesburg, suffered the injury in training and withdrew after assessment on Thursday night.

His place in the squad will be taken by Leicester's Thomas Waldrom, who scored two tries and was named man of the match in the midweek win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley.

Got ya: Jordan Turner-Hall is held back by Phil Dowson during England training

Got ya: Jordan Turner-Hall is held back by Phil Dowson during England training

The 29-year-old will now have the chance to earn his first cap as England seek to level the three-match series against the Springboks at Coca-Cola Park.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster used all seven of his replacements during the first Test loss in Durban, with Dowson coming on as a 62nd-minute replacement for number eight Ben Morgan.

The news is the latest fitness blow for England, who have lost full-back Mike Brown for the rest of the series with a thumb injury.

Centre Brad Barritt is out of the second Test after surgery on a lacerated eyeball while winger Ugo Monye has missed out on a possible recall this week because of a tight hamstring.