Rugby World Cup France 2007

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

England's Jamie Noon out of the Cup

Unfortunately for the british team, their outside center Jamie Noon was ruled out of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday with knee ligament damage.

According to official sources, the player was carried off as England lost 36-0 to South Africa at the Stade de France on Friday, the team's largest-ever World Cup defeat. A scan confirmed that he has a grade 2 medial strain to his left knee, an injury that typically has a six-week recovery period but doesn't require surgery.

"He is really disappointed not to be able to take any further part in this tournament," England team doctor Simon Kemp said of Noon.

In fact, no decision has yet been taken whether to call for a replacement.

Dan Hipkiss, who had been quarantined earlier this week with a mild case of tonsillitis, is fit again and could replace Noon for Saturday's must-win Group A game with Samoa at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes.

However, there was better news for England on injured flyhalves Jonny Wilkinson and Olly Barkley, plus Jason Robinson.

Robinson, who will retire after the World Cup, strained his left hamstring in the match versus South Africa, but is not thought to have played his last game after recovering well in the 36 hours following the match.

Although unlikely to be named for the Samoa match when England coach Brian Ashton announces his team Monday, Robinson may come back Tonga at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Sept. 28.

Kemp said that Wilkinson, who has an ankle injury, and Barkley, who strained his left hip, were recovering at the expected rate.

"Jonny Wilkinson and Olly Barkley continue to make very good progress," he stated. "We've always anticipated that they'll be available for selection this weekend and nothing has changed for us to change our minds."

ACtually, Wilkinson is expected to replace Mike Catt at No. 10 against Samoa, with Ashton to decide between Catt, Barkley and Andy Farrell to take the position of inside center. Farrell played at No. 12 against South Africa.

England, which struggled to beat United States 28-10 last week, could become the first reigning world champions to fail to reach the quarterfinals if it doesn't defeat Samoa and Tonga.

In the end, England captain Phil Vickery will sit out the final match of his two-game suspension against Samoa.

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