Rugby Union: Shaw to replace concussed Johnson

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The Independent Online
HAVING decided he was too raw to pick in the original tour party, the England management yesterday summoned the 20-year-old Simon Shaw to complete the tour of South Africa in place of the concussed Martin Johnson, writes Steve Bale from Pretoria.

The Leicester lock was felled by a Johan le Roux punch towards the end of England's defeat by Transvaal on Saturday and when he came off Ellis Park remembered nothing of the game.

Neither, until yesterday, did Jack Rowell, the manager, know anything of how the injury had been caused but, now that he does, he does not intend to register any formal complaint.

As he has previously been concussed, in 1992, Johnson will have a scan when he gets home to Market Harborough. His mandatory three-week rest period has opened the door to Shaw, an under-21 international whose 6ft 9in and 19st make him a tight forward in the modern mould, particularly as he adds vital ball skills and mobility to these statistics.

Shaw is a business-studies student who had a fine season for Bristol in the English First Division before losing out on tour selection to Matthew Poole only because Poole had toured for England before, to Argentina in 1990. 'We thought the tour was probably a bit too soon for Simon but he has all the attributes you need in world rugby these days,' Rowell said.

If he arrives here in good enough shape today, Shaw will go straight in against South Africa A in Kimberley tomorrow so that Nigel Redman does not have to play before the first Test. At present, Redman is the only member of Saturday's prospective team to be pressed into duty at Hoffe Park. Martin Bayfield is being given extra pre-Test time to recover from his ankle injury.

Dewi Morris, whose nose would not stop bleeding at Ellis Park, is fit enough for the bench tomorrow but none of Saturday's other minor casualties - Tony Underwood (neck), Victor Ubogu (shoulder) and the imminent first cap Paul Hull (shin) - has to do likewise.

ENGLAND (v South Africa A, Kimberley, tomorrow): J Callard (Bath); D Hopley (Wasps), S Potter (Leicester), M Catt, A Adebayo; S Barnes (all Bath), S Bates (Wasps); G Rowntree (Leicester), G Dawe, J Mallett, N Redman (all Bath), M Poole (Leicester), L Dallaglio (Wasps), D Ryan (Wasps, capt), S Ojomoh (Bath). Replacements: R Underwood (Leicester), R Andrew (Wasps), D Morris (Orrell), J Leonard, B Moore (Harlequins), D Richards (Leicester).

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