- 15 Oct 07, 05:10 PM
Paris – To be honest it wasn't that much of a surprise.
England fans feared the worst when wing Josh Lewsey gingerly limped off the field at the half-time whistle of Saturday’s semi-final victory over France.
And earlier today it was confirmed that a hamstring strain has robbed the Wasps flyer of a chance of playing in his second consecutive World Cup final.
It is a cruel blow for the 2003 World Cup winner after an impressive tournament to date.
He had played every minute of every game up until the injury and put England on the path to the final with a crucial score early on against France.
The injury is not only heartbreaking for the man himself, it is also a big setback for England.
His physical presence in the back three would have been vital a part of England's efforts to shackle South Africa's twin threat of Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen.
Head coach Brian Ashton, who last week was able to name the same starting XV two games in a row for the first time during his tenure, was likely to have done the same for Saturday’s contest against the Springboks.
The argument for retaining the same side that had defeated Australia and France would have been strong, but Lewsey’s injury means he has to think again.
What are his options?
Ashton could decide to stick with the backline that was reshuffled in the wake of Lewsey’s injury, with Mathew Tait on the wing and Leicester’s Dan Hipkiss at outside centre.
Hipkiss, who had an impressive season for the Tigers last season, certainly made an impression when he came on at the Stade de France and did his selection case no harm at all.
The 25-year-old made a couple of nice charges and was strong taking the ball into contact, staying on his feet to allow his team-mates to get in behind him. He did not look like a man winning only his fifth cap.
Tait looked comfortable after being switched out wide and there is no doubt he has the pace to trouble the South African defence next weekend.
Ashton could also decide to make a straight swap and call on Mark Cueto, who has not been seen since the victory over Tonga in the final game of the pool stages.
Cueto, who was ruled out for the most of last season through injury, has struggled to hit top form on his return and looked shaky when selected at full-back in the second Test against France in the summer and in the first game of the World Cup against the USA.
His try-scoring record of 13 tries in 23 Tests highlights that he is a good finisher and his experience could swing the decision in his favour.
If Cueto is selected, then England would probably call up another wing for the bench or they could even call on a full-back from home - leaving Jason Robinson to cover any injuries out wide.
The contenders for a place in the team are sure to face a nervy couple of days but their torment will end when Ashton's team is announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Mark Orlovac is a BBC Sport journalist based in London. He will be based in Paris for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.