Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
Bracken and Rees out of World Cup
Bracken had been seeing a faith healer in his bid to recover
England coach Clive Woodward is facing growing World Cup selection problems after first-choice scrum-half Kyran Bracken and winger David Rees were ruled out through injury.
Leicester's Leon Lloyd and Wasps Martyn Wood have been drafted in as replacements.
Lack of cover
The loss of Bracken and Rees had been expected, but their absence leaves Woodward running out of options for the pivotal scrum-half position, with England's opening group game against Italy just nine days away.
If Dawson gets injured, Woodward will be faced with either taking a risk on the uncapped Wasps scrum-half Martyn Wood or converting versatile wing Austin Healey.
Bracken, who understudied Dewi Morris at the 1995 World Cup, was philosophical about the latest blow to a Test career, which has seem him collect just 23 caps since making his debut when England beat New Zealand six years ago.
"I am obviously disappointed that I haven't been able to recover in time for the World Cup, and I respect the fact that Clive had a deadline," he said.
"Martyn is an excellent choice and I will be giving him and all the other players as much support as I can. I will continue to concentrate on returning to full fitness and playing for Saracens as soon as I can."
Leicester winger Leon Lloyd, called up to the squad this week as emergency cover, is also likely to get his chance in the absence of Rees.