Catt can face S Africa

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The Independent Online
Mike Catt was yesterday passed fit to play for England in this Saturday's Test against South Africa, the land of his birth, after using the time at his disposal as a full-time rugby player for treatment in a decompression chamber at the Portsmouth naval base, writes Steve Bale.

The Bath outside-half, who injured an ankle in a collision with his rival David Pears in the game at Harlequins three weeks ago and has not played since, took a full part in yesterday's training session at Twickenham. "I have three more days to rest and have treatment and hopefully I will be fine," Catt said.

Jack Rowell, the manager, is concerned at the strength of the Springboks' scrummage, hence the presence of Phil Keith-Roach, the one-time Cambridge University hooker, in the role of scrummaging expert, as well as the Richmond pack to give England some live opposition.

Catt, England outside-half for the first time, has special family reasons for paying out of his own pocket for the treatment which has hastened his recovery. His appearance against South Africa is prompting a mass influx of Catts - 13 in all - from his home in Port Elizabeth to watch the game at Twickenham.

n Rob Andrew will make his debut for Newcastle in a club match against Harrogate in a fortnight's time. Nick Popplewell, the Irish international prop, will also play for the first time.

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