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Sunday, February 28, 1999 Published at 12:26 GMT


Stransky's England dream over

Stransky has been in formidable form for Leicester this season

South Africa's World Cup-winning fly-half Joel Stransky will not be making a sensational comeback to international rugby with England - because he has just found out he has no English grandparents.

The Leicester stand-off, who slotted the winning drop-goal for the Springboks in the 1995 World Cup final, had been linked with a switch to the white shirt of England.

National coach Clive Woodward announced earlier this month that he would consider Stransky for the next World Cup once he had qualified to play for England in September.

But Stransky has ruled out what would have been a controversial return to the international scene after making further inquiries into his family history.

He discovered his great grandparents emigrated to South Africa after the First World War and gave birth to his grandmother in 1922.

"My England career is not an issue now," said Stransky.


[ image: Woodward appeared to do a U-turn on the Stransky issue]
Woodward appeared to do a U-turn on the Stransky issue
"I don't have to do any more soul-searching. In my heart of hearts I know my international career is finally over.

"Obviously after three months of wondering if I could play in the World Cup it's disappointing news.

"But it takes a huge load off my shoulders and it means I don't have to make an awkward decision about whether I would actually want to play for England having already worn a Springbok jersey," the 31-year-old told the Mail on Sunday.

The issue of Stransky turning out for England had divided the game.

Woodward himself had said last year he would select Stransky "only with great reluctance", before appearing to reverse his decision and stating: "I have no problems at all in playing him if he were the best player."

But others had not been so supportive. England captain Lawrence Dallaglio admitted he had reservations and South Africa coach Nick Mallett said he was "disturbed" by Stransky's overtures to England.

Stransky's form at No.10 has been a key part in Leicester's relentless surge towards the Allied Dunbar Premiership One title this season.

The announcement that he will not be in contention for a World Cup spot will be a major boost for the leading contenders for the England fly-half's berth - Mike Catt, Paul Grayson, Alex King and Jon Wilkinson.



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