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George Ford back at fly-half for second Test in Australia

George Ford. Credit: PA

England will restore George Ford at fly-half for Saturday's second Test against Australia at AAMI Park.

Eddie Jones will reunite the Grand Slam-winning 10-12 axis of Ford and Owen Farrell as the tourists target the victory that will complete an historic series in the southern hemisphere.

Ford was brought on in the 29th minute of the 39-28 victory in Brisbane with Luther Burrell, who had been exposed in defence on several occasions, making way.

The reshuffle saw Farrell, the starting fly-half, replace Burrell at inside centre and the change in personnel provided the catalyst for England's fightback.

A bold early substitution by Jones was rewarded with arguably Ford's best performance in 24 caps after the 23-year-old's vision set-up tries for wings Marland Yarde and Jack Nowell.

It is hoped the twin playmakers will offer England the direction they need if they are to seize an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

"Australia will be desperate because they will be disappointed with the first result," Ford said.


Johnny Sexton to miss Ireland tour of South Africa

Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland's tour of South Africa. Credit: PA

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland's tour of South Africa.

The 30-year-old Leinster fly-half suffered a shoulder injury during Saturday's 20-10 Pro12 final defeat by Connacht and needed minor surgery.

Coach Joe Schmidt has also lost Luke Fitzgerald and Dave Kearney to injuries sustained at Murrayfield, and in a further blow Rob Kearney pulled up in training on Wednesday with a hamstring strain which will rule him out of the tour.

Ireland have called up Craig Gilroy, Matt Healy, Ian Madigan and the uncapped Tiernan O'Halloran as replacements.

The squad depart on Sunday and will play Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth on their first tour of South Africa since 2004.

Dylan Hartley: One more concussion and I could retire

England captain Dylan Hartley accepts that one more concussion could force him to take an extended break from the game or even end his career.

Hartley will lead England out against Wales on Sunday. Credit: PA

Hartley has missed 14 weeks of the season over two spells after taking blows to the head, the most recent of which came in the final match of the Six Nations when he was knocked unconscious in the Grand Slam-sealing victory over France.

Debilitating lethargy was the main symptom of his latest absence and he was only able to return in Northampton's final match of the season on May 7, making Sunday's Test against Wales at Twickenham the second outing of his comeback.

Now the 30-year-old hooker is symptom-free and feels "strong and fit", but he knows a further concussion might have far-reaching implications.

Hartley said:

If I got another lay-off now, I'd be worried. I'd probably start looking at other careers or maybe a long lay-off. Maybe I'll look at my tackling technique too!

I'd have to ask a specialist. Three in one season would warrant a bit of time off and I would probably take that anyway - take a step back and have a minute.

It's not something I fear, it's something you deal with when it happens. I won't go into the Wales game worrying about it. I feel confident in my head and have tested it out a few times.

– England captain Dylan Hartley


Exeter's Waldrom ruled out of Premiership final

33-year-old England back-rower Waldrom suffered damage to his medial ligament. Credit: PA

Thomas Waldrom will miss Exeter's Aviva Premiership final clash with Saracens after being ruled out for 12 weeks with a knee ligament injury.

The 33-year-old England back-rower suffered damage to his medial ligament in the closing stages of Saturday's 34-23 league semi-final victory over Wasps.

Exeter will face Premiership title holders and Champions Cup winners Saracens in their maiden league final at Twickenham on Saturday, with 28 coachloads of fans making the journey to London.

Flanker Don Armand admitted four-cap England back-rower Waldrom has been "really upset" by the injury blow, but vowed Exeter will now bid to lift the title in his honour.

"It's really horrible for someone like 'Tank' especially, who puts so much time and emotion into the team and you can see that by the way he plays," said Exeter flanker Armand.

"We're definitely going to miss him. He's been really upset this week and that just shows what the team means to him.

"There are definitely boys playing for him, as extra emotion and motivation."

Tuilagi to miss England's tour to Australia

Tuilagi won't be available for England this summer. Credit: PA

Manu Tuilagi will miss England's tour to Australia next month with a hamstring problem, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

Tuilagi sustained the injury in Leicester's Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat at Saracens on Saturday and, following a scan, has been ruled out of the three-Test series against the Wallabies.

A replacement will be named after Sunday's pre-tour Test against Wales at Twickenham.

"It's bad luck for Manu so close to the tour, but it provides a great opportunity for someone else. We wish Manu all the best and a quick recovery," head coach Eddie Jones said.

Manu Tuilagi a major doubt for England tour Down Under

Manu Tuilagi watches from the sidelines after going off injured. Credit: PA

Manu Tuilagi is expected to miss England's summer tour to Australia due to a torn hamstring suffered in Leicester's 44-17 Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat by Saracens.

Tuilagi lasted just 20 minutes of the showdown at Allianz Park after sustaining the injury while attempting to ankle-tap wing Chris Wyles and it is understood the initial prognosis is a grade two tear requiring six weeks of rehabilitation.

If that assessment proves correct, it will rule Tuilagi out of next month's three-Test series against the Wallabies with Eddie Jones set to unveil his 32-33-man squad on Sunday.

Imanol Harinordoquy to retire at the end of the season

Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

What an amazing career Imanol Harinordoquy enjoyed. Credit: PA

The 36-year-old is hoping to sign off by winning the Top 14 title with Toulouse before calling time on his 16-year career.

"I will stop at the end of the season," he told L'Equipe.

"It will be a bit special when I play my last matches. I am not apprehensive. On the contrary, I am very excited about my final days. I want to win something."

The back-row player won 82 caps for Les Bleus and helped them win the Six Nations title five times, including three Grand Slams, and reach the 2011 World Cup final.

He also won the French title twice with Biarritz - but also suffered relegation with them in 2014, at which point he began to consider retirement.

He said:

It has come quite naturally, knowing that I was ready to stop two years ago after a difficult season at Biarritz, with the team's relegation and a knee constantly in pain.

I nearly ended my career because I could not train any more. Running had become a torture. When you get up the day after the game and need four ice packs on your knee, when your son asks you to pass a ball around in the garden and you cannot, you realise you have a life away from rugby.

– Former France forward Imanol Harinordoquy
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