Attwood in ban fear as England toil


LOCK Dave Attwood could be forced to return home in disgrace after being cited over two alleged stamping incident’s in England’s opening tour match with the Australian Barbarians in Perth yesterday.

The Gloucester forward is said to have waded in on Barbarians scrum-half Josh Valentine and then opposite number Mitch Chapman in separate incidents either side of the break.

Attwood will now appear before an independent disciplinary hearing this morning where, if found guilty, could be forced to sit out the rest of the five-match summer tour.

The incident capped a disappointing tour opener for Martin Johnson’s men, who only survived defeat by a last-minute penalty miss by Berrick Barnes.

Wallaby wonderkid James O’Connor did much of the early damage, scoring a superb hat-trick of tries and adding 10 points with the boot after two Olly Barkley penalties had given England an early advantage.

A Lee Mears try split O’Connor’s scoring spree, before Dan Ward-Smith and Matt Banahan touched down to complete a rousing England fightback to put them 28-25 ahead.

But, not for the first time, ill-discipline cost England dear as Barnes kicked over once to level the scores before then missing the vital kick to win the game at the death.

Johnson was not wholly satisfied with his team’s display and insisted such mistakes must be rectified ahead of Saturday’s first Test with Australia. “Every part of our game today was good in bits and inconsistent in bits,” he said. “We did lots of good things but we also compounded a few errors.

“If you make mistakes at this level you get punished. Our defence got too narrow and we paid the price.”