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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Cohen out of SA tour & World Cup
Ben Cohen
Cohen was relegated from the Premiership with Northampton last week
Northampton wing Ben Cohen has withdrawn from England's summer tour to South Africa and also made himself unavailable for the World Cup.

The 28-year-old was included in Brian Ashton's 30-man tour squad for the two-Test trip earlier this week.

But the World Cup winner has decided to put his international career on hold in order to spend time with his wife, Abby, who is expecting twins.

Ashton will announce Cohen's squad replacement on Tuesday.

"Ben was very pleased to hear the news that he would be touring with England but he has reflected on his selection and his current personal circumstances," said Ashton.

606: DEBATE

"His wife is expecting twins later in the year so I understand his reasons for withdrawing from the tour and from contention for the Rugby World Cup squad to spend time with her."

Ashton has Harlequins star David Strettle, skipper Jason Robinson and Gloucester paceman James Simpson-Daniel as the other wingers in his squad.

Newcastle centre Mathew Tait can also play out wide but Ashton may decide to summon a player from the England Saxons squad with Gloucester's Iain Balshaw or Dan Scarbrough of Saracens the likely candidates.

Cohen has scored 31 tries in 57 caps for England but his international career has stuttered since the World Cup triumph four years ago.

He missed out on the 2005 Lions tour but worked his way back into the England team earlier this season, starting all four November Tests.

But after Ashton took over in December, Cohen was overlooked for the Six Nations and there must now be doubts as to whether he will play for England again.

And will find it difficult to stake his claim for an England place from National League One, following Northampton's relegation from the Premiership.



SEE ALSO
SA tour unfair on England - Catt
03 May 07 |  English
Robinson to captain England squad
01 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Catt injury adds to England woes
27 Apr 07 |  English


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