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England call up Phil Dowson to replace injured Fourie

Phil Dowson in action for the England Saxons team
Dowson had an impressive season as captain of Northampton

England have called up Northampton's Phil Dowson for their Australian tour in place of the injured Hendre Fourie.

Dowson will join the squad from the England Saxons' North American tour after Fourie hurt his calf and ankle against the Australian Barbarians.

The Leeds flanker will return home on Sunday for further treatment after undergoing a scan on Wednesday.

Two stamping charges against England lock Dave Attwood over incidents in the Barbarians game have been dismissed.

The Rugby Football Union argued that the Australian citing commissioner could not be judged impartial.

England drew 28-28 with the Barbarians and coach Martin Johnson has warned his players that they must reduce the number of errors in the first Test in Perth.

606: DEBATE

Dowson will provide back row options - his preferred position is number eight, but he can also operate as blind-side flanker - while Fourie is returning home from the tour after undergoing a scan in Perth.

Saints captain Dowson was unlucky to be left out of the initial tour squad after being shortlisted for the Premiership Player of the Season award.

Leicester-bound lock George Skivington will replace Dowson as Saxons skipper on the trip to North America.

England manager Martin Johnson will confirm his line-up on Thursday for Saturday's first Test in Perth.

Bath centre Shontayne Hape is expected to be handed his Test debut at inside centre, having started in the non-cap, pre-tour match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Toby Flood is set to retain the fly-half jersey, with Jonny Wilkinson likely to remain on the bench, where he finished the Six Nations.

Australia, meanwhile, are pondering whether to recall props Al Baxter and Matt Dunning.

The experienced duo were left out of the current, youthful squad preparing for the two-match series with England, and a further Test against Ireland, with one eye on next year's World Cup.

But with the Wallabies' first-choice front row - Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander - all absent injured and one possible tight-head option, Laurie Weeks, struggling for the Aussie Barbarians against England on Tuesday, Baxter (69 caps) and Dunning (45 caps) are back in the reckoning.

"It's something that we certainly have to look at," said Wallabies assistant coach Jim Williams on Wednesday.

"No decisions have been made yet. We have to look closely at the game and sit down and nut out exactly which way we want to go."

The other props in the Australia squad in addition to the uncapped Weeks are Pek Cowan (four caps), Salesi Ma'afu (one cap) and the uncapped Ben Daley.

The hooking options to replace Moore are Tatafu Polota-Nau, who has won 19 of his 23 caps off the bench, and uncapped duo Saia Faingaa and Huia Edmonds, the latter part of the Barbarians front row exposed by England's second-string on Tuesday.



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see also
Johnson takes positives from England draw
08 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Aussie Barbarians 28-28 England
08 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
England Saxons 49-17 Russia
09 Jun 10 |  English
'Fairytale' bow for Leeds flanker
07 Jun 10 |  Leeds
Johnson wants 'smarter' England
30 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England 35-26 Barbarians
30 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Wilkinson fit to face Australia
26 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England tour pay row is settled
21 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England pick nine untried players
11 May 10 |  English


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