Lawes fears ease

Lock discharged from hospital after practice match scare

Last Updated: 28/07/11 6:54pm

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Lawes: Stretchered from the field

Lawes: Stretchered from the field

Sky Bet

There were sighs of relief in the England camp on Thursday after fears that forward Courtney Lawes had suffered a serious neck injury were allayed.

The Northampton lock had given manager Martin Johnson a scare less than six weeks before the World Cup when he was stretchered from the field with his neck in a brace during a behind-closed-doors trial match.

Lawes was given oxygen and transferred by ambulance to Charing Cross Hospital, where he underwent precautionary scans on suspected soft tissue damage.

The 22-year-old was discharged on Thursday evening and will undergo further assessment by the England medical team when the squad gather on Sunday evening.

Saracens wing David Strettle was also carried off, having suffered an apparent leg injury in the first period of a full-contact match at The Stoop, which was played in two 20-minutes halves.

Johnson made sure that there was no distinct A and B team for the match, but he was one man down because Mike Tindall is getting married on Saturday.

Promise

Leicester number eight Thomas Waldrom, who is carrying a calf problem, also played no part but Manu Tuilagi showed glimpses of promise at outside centre.

Jonny Wilkinson also made an impact from the bench, helping create a try for Mark Cueto early in the second period as the team in white won 11-10.

Both Tuilagi and Tom Croft scored for the black team.

"It was a good end to the week and the boys enjoyed having a run out in a different environment," said Johnson.

"Inevitably it was competitive and you wouldn't have it any other way. But to be honest the whole training camp has had that edge that you want from a group of players vying for 30 spots."

It is thought that Johnson will cut six players from his 45-man squad this weekend ahead of England's first World Cup warm-up match, against Wales at Twickenham on August 6.

England then play Wales away before Johnson has to finalise his 30-man World Cup squad on August 22.

Good idea

"Johnson will have a very good idea of what his squad is - probably all 30 players," former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio said on Thursday.

"The squad will be made up mostly of what we have seen in the Six Nations. It is a big call to take players to the World Cup with limited or no experience.

"There are going to be some tough calls and there are at every World Cup. Graham Rowntree, Simon Shaw and Austin Healey being left out in 2003 and James Haskell being left out of the 2007 World Cup."

England's final warm-up match is against Ireland in Dublin on August 27.

They open their World Cup campaign against Argentina on September 10.

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