England call up Thomas Waldrom to World Cup

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The Independent Online

Leicester number eight Thomas Waldrom was today called to New Zealand as "temporary cover" for Nick Easter, who is still receiving treatment for a back injury.

Easter missed England's 41-10 World Cup victory over Georgia yesterday and the decision to fly Waldrom out tonight suggests he is struggling for fitness.

Waldrom was a member of England's initial 45-man World Cup training squad but he was hampered by a calf injury and was cut before the August warm-up internationals.

England manager Martin Johnson said: "Nick Easter is still suffering from a sore back so we will be bringing Thomas out as temporary cover.

"We've obviously spoken to Leicester and Thomas will be flying later today."

Waldrom, 28, has played in all three of Leicester's Aviva Premiership games and scored a try in the opening-day defeat to Exeter Chiefs.

The New Zealand-born player, who discovered last season that he qualifies for England through his grandmother, will arrive in Dunedin on Wednesday.

Unless he is officially registered with the International Rugby Board as a permanent replacement in the squad, Waldrom cannot stay in the England team hotel or train with them.

Waldrom is not the official replacement for prop Andrew Sheridan.

The Sale loosehead suffered a tournament-ending shoulder injury in England's 13-9 victory over Argentina but has yet to be replaced in Johnson's squad.

England have also had injury concerns over squad captain Lewis Moody, who made his comeback against Georgia after six weeks out with a knee injury.

Prop Matt Stevens suffered an ankle injury against Georgia while wing Chris Ashton hyper-extended his elbow in scoring his second try, although both players were confident the problems were not serious.

Attack coach Brian Smith announced today that wing Mark Cueto will be available for selection against Romania after overcoming a lower back problem.