- Saracens scrum-half called up to replace Willi Heinz
- Heinz injured his hamstring after coming off the bench in the semi-final victory over New Zealand
TheSaracensscrum-half Ben Spencer has been added to England’s World Cup squad in place of the injured Willi Heinz and he is set to make a dramatic first appearance in the tournament in Saturday’s final.
England announced on Sunday morning that Spencer was flying to Japan to act as emergency cover while Heinz’s hamstring injury, sustained in the19 – 7 semi-finalwin over New Zealand, was further assessed. Less than two hours later however, England confirmed that Spencer will replace Heinz in the 31 – man squad when he arrives in Japan on Monday.
Spencer has only three caps to his name, all as a replacement, and he has never tasted victory with England – featuring in two defeats as well as the 38 – 38 draw with Scotland in March – which is his most recent appearance. It is some ask for the 27 – year-old to join the squad for England’s biggest match for 12 Years.
He was due to start for Saracens in the Premiership on Sunday but will now join the squad, who are now one win away from emulating Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 World Cup winners. It gives Spencer the opportunity to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the initial squad. He had edged ahead of Dan Robson and Danny Care in the pecking order, only for Heinz to emerge as Jones’s choice as Ben Youngs’ understudy.
Along with Youngs, Heinz was one of just two scrum-halves in England’s World Cup squad, meaning Spencer is set for a place on the bench in Saturday’s final. Jones admitted he was taking a risk when naming only two scrum-halves in his 31 – man squad back in August and said that George Ford could act as emergency cover if required. England moved quickly however, when doubts emerged over Heinz, who came on for Youngs against the All Blacks in the 63 rd minute.