Rugby Union: England turn to Potter as Guscott misses tour

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JEREMY GUSCOTT'S late withdrawal from the tour of South

Africa may have cost England a midfield cutting-edge, but after replacing him with Leicester's Stuart Potter they now have the most consistently penetrative centre of the domestic season just ended, writes Steve Bale.

In fact, Guscott would have been an unknown quantity. He has not played since October because of a pelvic condition which leaves him with an inflamed groin whenever there is sharp movement. Thus, if he had made the tour, he could have played but would not then have been able to train.

'The best thing to do is sit back, wait for two or three months and start training again for next season,' he said. He has been assured there is no long-term threat to his playing career but even so is bound to be nervous about his resumption for Bath, which should now be made promptly at the start of September.

The 16 tourists who played in Saturday's Pilkington Cup final between Bath and Leicester came through unscathed and David Pears, the Harlequins full-back who has been inactive with a hamstring injury since England beat France two months ago, is relieved to have been passed fit.

Pears, Potter and the rest of the party fly out of Heathrow on Wednesday for eight matches culminating in Tests in Pretoria and Cape Town and opening against Orange Free State in Bloemfontein on Wednesday week.

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