Injury toll mounts as shoulder damage ends Youngs' tour

Scrum-half's joy at refinding best form ruined by prospect of three months out

Typical. Just when a player rediscovers something approaching his best international form after a spell in the doldrums, he does himself a mischief and disappears from view. Ben Youngs, who put two tries past the Springboks at Ellis Park and generally performed like the high-calibre scrum-half England took him to be when he was first capped in 2010, will not recover from shoulder damage in time for this weekend's final Test in Port Elizabeth.

Indeed, he may be incapacitated for as long as three months. According to Stuart Lancaster, the red-rose head coach, Youngs suffered the injury during the second half of Saturday's game. "He was sore at the time, but it was only after a night's sleep that he really found himself struggling," Lancaster reported yesterday. "It quickly became clear that his tour was over. He's very disappointed, obviously."

Karl Dickson of Harlequins was flying to South Africa last night, having cut short a holiday in the Spanish resort of Alicante. He will arrive as third-choice No 9 behind his clubmate, the freshly rehabilitated Danny Care, and his brother Lee, who replaced Youngs off the bench in the closing stages of the Ellis Park contest. As both Care and Lee Dickson will be required for the finale in the Eastern Cape, the newcomer is certain to play a prominent part in tomorrow's "dirt-tracker" game with a South African Barbarians northern selection in Potchefstroom.

It was not entirely clear when Youngs' problems initially occurred, but he certainly jarred his right shoulder joint in attempting to prevent the Springbok wing J P Pietersen scoring his side's fourth and decisive try eight minutes from time. He was nursing the injury when he reflected on the game an hour after close of play, but was more concerned by England's fragile mental approach at the start of the match – they conceded 22 points in 18 minutes – than by anything of an orthopaedic nature.

"We were blowing pretty hard in the opening stages," Youngs admitted, "but that was because the Boks were really making us work, not because of the thin air. Anyway, altitude is a poor excuse. We're professional players and we should be used to it, just as we should have dealt with our nerves at the start. That was the disappointing thing: we were hesitant from the kick-off, even though we understood the importance of the game. There was a bit of panic out there and if Stuart is putting that down to tension, I wouldn't disagree."

Youngs was not best pleased with the officiating of the first scrum of the game, which resulted in a soft opening try for the Springbok flanker Willem Alberts. "It should have been reset," he argued, convinced that as no front-row forward touched the ball before it emerged on the blind side, there had been no proper completion. "But even so, it was our fault that we gave the Boks so much cheap ball in that first 20 minutes. They were very intense in what they did and we didn't handle it."

There were no further bad tidings on the injury front yesterday. With George Lowe, the young Harlequins centre, already off the tour with an ankle injury – his clubmate Mike Brown has also departed with a busted thumb – Jonny May of Gloucester has joined the squad to cover a variety of wide positions. Happily, the Saracens centre Brad Barritt is back on active duty after having stitches inserted into an eyeball. The naturalised South African was injured in Durban, his home city, and underwent specialist treatment there.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen