Tuesday, 19 June 2012
A cracked thumb bone has ruled England skipper Chris Robshaw out of the third and final rugby Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth Saturday, a team spokesman said.
Hooker Dylan Hartley will take over the captaincy as the Red Roses try to avoid a whitewash having lost the first Test 22-17 in Durban and the second 36-27 in Johannesburg last Saturday.
Flank Robshaw suffered knocks during the first and second Tests against the Springboks at Kings Park and Ellis Park and an image sent to England for specialist opinion revealed the crack.
Coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Chris is devastated as you would imagine. He has led us superbly in the last seven internationals and has been one of our stand-out performers.
"But the medical advice is that he should not play and we have to trust that expert opinion. Dylan Hartley will captain the side. He has been a key part of our leadership group and I know he will step up to the task on Saturday."
Robshaw said: "I am absolutely gutted. I have been very proud and honoured to lead this group during the Six Nations and on this tour and it is a difficult way to end the season.
"I know the lads can raise themselves for tomorrow (against the Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom) and Saturday and I will be doing everything I can to support them."
Meanwhile, uncapped Western Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen has joined the Springbok squad in Port Elizabeth as injury cover.
Zane Kirchner (knee) wore the No.15 shirt in the first Test and Patrick Lambie (ankle) in the second, but both face fitness tests ahead of the team announcement on Wednesday.
Inside centre Francois Steyn has played at fullback but is unavailable as he is getting married on the day of the match.
Lock Juandre Kruger has recovered from a neck injury sustained during the second Test in Johannesburg while outstanding flank Willem Alberts is hoping to recover from a knee ligaments injury.
Check out FREE Full Race results
for nine separate countries.