England lose Thompson to injury

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The Independent Online

Andy Robinson was dealt yet another injury blow yesterday, with the news that the Northampton hooker Steve Thompson is out of the autumn internationals. Thompson suffered a torn calf muscle against Gloucester at the weekend and is expected to be out for four to six weeks.

Robinson has called up the Wasps lock Tom Palmer to replace the Bath second row forward Steve Borthwick, one of around 30 England elite players either injured or ill, for this week's training camp at Loughborough University. Borthwick's clubmate Duncan Bell has also been drafted in as cover for the prop Perry Freshwater, who has to turn out for Perpignan against Albi in the French Championship tonight.

The former Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell played a full 80 minutes for Saracens' A team last night following his release by England.

Farrell, whose first year in rugby union was wiped out by injury, had been involved in the England squad get-together this week but Robinson felt he would be better with his club.

The 31-year-old featured as Sarries beat Gloucester 14-3 in the Guinness A League match which also saw South African Neil de Kock make his debut.