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JOHANNESBURG, June 11 (Reuters) – England fullback Mike
Brown has been ruled out of the three-test series against South
Africa with a fractured thumb and will be replaced by Bath’s
Nick Abendanon, the team management said on Monday.
Abendanon, 25, has already joined the squad ahead of the
second test against the Springboks on Saturday in Johannesburg,
where he attended the weekend wedding of Bath team mate Pieter
South Africa lost their fullback Zane Kirchner on Monday for
the second test. Kirchner injured his knee in the first test in
Durban last weekend and will be replaced by Stormers utility
back Gio Aplon.
Abendanon was born in Johannesburg and made his test debut
in Pretoria against the Springboks in 2007. He won his second
and last test cap against France at Twickenham later that year.
Brown will return home for an operation on his thumb.
England’s backline will have to be further shuffled for the
second test after centre Brad Barritt, another South
African-born player, underwent a minor operation at the weekend
for a lacerated eyeball.
“Barritt won’t figure in this week’s games, but will join us
in Johannesburg later this week,” England media manager Dave
Barton told Reuters.
South Africa, who staged a second-half rally to beat England
22-17 in the first test last Saturday, said Kirchner’s knee
would be checked again next week ahead of the final test in Port
Elizabeth on June 23.
“It’s always tough losing a fullback because it means you
need a specialist reserve,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said.
(Reporting by Ken Borland; Editing by John Mehaffey and Clare
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