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Hepher given England call-up
May 30, 2000

England coach Clive Woodward has called up Northampton fly-half Ali Hepher for the tour to South Africa.

Hepher, part of the Saints side that defeated Munster 9-8 in last weekend's Heineken Cup win, has been drafted in to replace injured Wasps fly-half Alex King.

Woodward said, "Ali has had an outstanding season for both Northampton and England A and he deserves this opportunity to prove himself at the highest level."

The 25-year-old Ashington-born player has been at Northampton for six years after a brief spell with Newcastle. But he has largely acted as an understudy for Paul Grayson with the Saints.

King, Jonny Wilkinson's fly-half back up, has been ruled out of the 40-man squad due to a shoulder injury.

He has won six caps but his career has been dogged by injury since winning the Rugby Football Union's young player of the season award in 1996.

King, first capped as a replacement on England's trip to Argentina in 1997, then suffered a knee injury and had a miserable time on England's abysmal 1998 southern hemisphere tour.

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