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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism