Abendanon replaces Lewsey

Bath full-back Nick Abendanon has been called into England's World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Josh Lewsey. [more]

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Bath full-back Nick Abendanon has been called into England’s World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured Josh Lewsey.

Abendanon flew out to Paris on Monday evening to join the England squad just five days before they tackle South Africa in the World Cup final.

Lewsey was ruled out of the final after a scan confirmed he suffered a hamstring strain in England’s 14-9 victory over France last weekend.

Abendanon, 21, has been called up as insurance in case England should suffer any further injury problems in the back three ahead of Saturday’s final.

Lewsey’s likely replacement in the starting XV would either be Mark Cueto or centre Mathew Tait, who finished the semi-final playing on the wing with Dan Hipkiss at outside centre.

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Cueto has struggled with a calf problem in recent weeks but England officials insist the Sale Sharks winger is fit for selection.

Abendanon said: "It’s obviously devastating for Josh as he has been so vital to the team and I feel for him.

"But it is pretty exciting for me, especially going out for the final. I know I might not get a chance to play but to get back with the boys again will be great.

"I don’t know what my chances of selection are because they told me to just bring my boots and gumshield, but I will be really happy to just train with the boys and get a taste of the atmosphere."

Abendanon, an attacking full-back with great potential, was in England’s pre-World Cup training squad but missed out on selection in the final cut.

He arrives in France with just two caps and one Test start under his belt.

Abendanon was called onto England’s summer tour of South Africa and featured off the bench in the second Test after shining for the England Saxons in the Barclays Churchill Cup.

His first England start came in the 21-15 August defeat by France at Twickenham.

Lewsey, 30, sustained a grade one hamstring strain just before half-time against France, having opened the scoring for England with a try just 80 seconds into the semi-final.

The Wasps winger will remain with the squad in Paris this week.

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