England duo ‘will be fine’

England 17 Barbarians 14
ROB ANDREW last night moved to allay fitness fears surrounding key backs Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood ahead of England’s New Zealand tour.

Fly-half Hodgson required 13 stitches to a cut beneath his left eye during England’s 17-14 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Hodgson clashed heads with Barbarians flanker Jerry Collins, while bloodied Newcastle centre Flood was also forced off.

But tour manager Andrew said: “They will both be fine.’’

Centre Dan Hipkiss, who suffered a facial injury during Leicester’s Guinness Premiership final defeat against Wasps on Saturday, appears to be England’s biggest fitness doubt.

Checks will be conducted today ahead of England’s evening flight to Auckland, where they face the All Blacks on June 14, then in Christchurch seven days later.

An experienced Barbarians outfit tore into England throughout a dire contest littered with errors.

Andrew added: “The Barbarians were very streetwise, they made it very difficult.

Andrew though, claimed England’s narrow win – secured by tries from skipper Nick Easter and centre Mathew Tait – had no bearing on forthcoming events in New Zealand.

He said: “This has got nothing to do with the All Blacks. There are guys joining us this evening from Wasps, Leicester and Bath, and we will regroup tomorrow and take it from there.

“In terms of the All Blacks, it has got little bearing.’’

England scorers: Tries: Easter, Tait. Cons: Flood, Brown. Pens: Flood.

ENGLAND: Brown, Ojo, Tait, Flood, Strettle, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Lloyd, Paice, Hobson, Jones, Kennedy, Narraway, Skinner, Easter.

Replacements: Monye for Flood (59), Richards for Hodgson (25), Care for Wigglesworth (41), Wilson for Lloyd (71), Hartley for Paice (41), Hooper for Jones (67), Guest for Narraway (67).

Barbarians scorers: Tries: Mapusua, Thomas. Cons: Gomarsall, Jackson.

BARBARIANS: Delport, Balshaw, Turinui, Mapusua, Thomas, Larkham, Gomarsall, Pucciariello, Regan, Visagie, Chesney, Harrison, Collins, Molitika, Wannenburg.

Replacements: Jackson for Delport (63), Pretorius for Larkham (69), Claassens for Gomarsall (71), Bruno for Regan (66), Collazo for Visagie (57), Dellape for Chesney (60), Croft for Molitika (60). Sin Bin: Molitika (31), Thomas (61).

Referee: George Clancy (RU).


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