31 May 2007
England Head Coach, Brian Ashton, announced today that the England team to play South Africa in the second test at Loftus Versfeld would be delayed until Friday afternoon.
Brian Ashton explained "If we were playing today we'd have seven fit backs and one on the bench so I am flying out Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby) tonight to join up with the squad. He was man of the match in the Saxons match against Scotland 'A' and scored two tries.
"Unfortunately, Andy Farrell (Saracens), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby) and Michael Brown (NEC Harlequins) are out of contention for this weekend because of the viral illness that has affected members of the squad.
"Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks) did all that was asked of him today in the pool and the gym and I hope he will be fit for the Captain's run on Friday."
Matt Stevens (Bath Rugby) also met the media today and commented on his call up to the squad just before the first test last Saturday.
"I was at home at my mother's having lunch when I got the call and although I had a nagging suspicion that I might get a call because I would be spending some time in South Africa, it was good to receive it and I watched last Saturday's game from the stand.
"I'm feeling really good at the moment. The re-constructive surgery on my right shoulder has worked out well and I've played the last 12 games or so for Bath.
"The injury meant that I could spend time doing things I wouldn't normally have the chance to do like 'X Factor' where I finished as a finalist. I was able to raise over �120,000 for the Nelson Mandela Children's Trust and one of the pinnacles of my life was then having the chance to meet Mr. Mandela.
"I took him a Bath Rugby jersey. I know he's a big Springboks fan so I didn't take an England one!
"If I'm picked on Saturday it would probably be the biggest game of my life and I'm emotionally ready for it and if selected I will get on with it."