ENGLAND have called up Toby Flood as a World Cup replacement for injured Falcons team-mate Jamie Noon.
Flood, who can cover just about anywhere in the backs, is drafted in after Noon suffered a knee ligament injury in Friday’s defeat by South Africa.
England’s top two fly-halves – Jonny Wilkinson and Olly Barkley – missed the South Africa game with injury, but both could be fit for Saturday’s game against Samoa, while Jason Robinson hopes to return against Tonga.
The 22-year-old Flood, who will provide England with another goal-kicking option, was unlucky to miss out on the original 30-man World Cup squad and his call-up comes after a man-of-the-match display in Newcastle’s Premiership victory over Sale Sharks on Sunday.
“We had a big problem last week with an unfortunate set of injuries and we couldn’t let that happen again with the goal-kicking,” said England coach Brian Ashton. “Toby covers two positions, so there’s flexibility about where he can play, but the goal-kicking was the main thing.”
Meanwhile, Wilkinson says he has recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in training before the World Cup.
“I’m fit now,” said Wilkinson. “So I am, as we stand, now available for selection. Kicking-wise I’ve been working mostly on my left foot but I fully expect to be working on my right foot this week.”
Robinson will definitely miss the Samoa game after limping off with a hamstring injury against South Africa. But he is expected to begin jogging on Monday and could return later in the tournament. Ashton will name his team today for Saturday’s vital World Cup pool match. A 28-10 victory against the United States and the 36-0 thrashing by South Africa leave England in third place in Pool A behind the Springboks and Tonga, who shocked the Samoans on Sunday.
England have yet to score a bonus point – for scoring four or more tries in a match or for losing by less than seven points – and though defeat to Samoa would not mean automatic failure to qualify, realistically they must win.
Noon has flown back home for treatment and rehabilitation after tearing his left medial knee ligament against South Africa .
“I’m getting used to the slow realisation that my dream of playing in the Rugby World Cup is over but what is hardest is that I was only there for two weeks and played just two games,” he said. “However, I now also know that I will be home for my daughter’s (Elodie Grace) first birthday so I have been thinking about that as well.
“I was running down the blindside on the right hand side of the pitch with a few minutes to go in the second half. I bounced off a couple of bodies and I had the ball when another player landed on my leg. I felt my knee pop so I knew it had gone. The scan just confirmed how long I would be out for. I received a lot of help from the England medical team and I’ll be looked after by Marten Brewer at Newcastle Falcons. Initially I was obviously gutted to be out and I have asked myself a few ‘what if’ questions that led up to the injury but there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
Newcastle Falcons have announced that all adult tickets for the EDF Energy Cup game against Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday, November 3 (kick-off 5.30pm) will be priced only £10.
Seats in the West Stand as well as terracing on the East and South sides will be only £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and £5 for juniors and are on general sale now, and Falcons season ticket holders have until Friday September 28 to reserve their existing seat.
All West Stand seats, excluding those reserved by season ticket holders, are available at £10 regardless of position, with a first-come, first-served policy on picking seats closest to the halfway line.
Tickets for this, and all other confirmed Falcons home matches, are available by calling 0871 226 60 60, or in person from Kingston Park during office hours.