Wilkinson a major doubt
Jonny Wilkinson is a major doubt for England's November meetings with
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa after suffering suspected knee
ligament damage on duty for his club Newcastle.
The injury curse that has blighted the flyhalf's career since the
2003 World Cup struck again on Tuesday evening when the England flyhalf
was carried off during his club Newcastle's English Premiership defeat
The 29-year-old, who hardly played between the 2003 and 2007 World
Cups, only returned from a six-month lay-off in September following
The latest injury came after 25 minutes after he twisted his knee at
a ruck that had formed following one of his trademark tackles on
Gloucester's Olly Morgan.
Newcastle rugby director Steve Bates said: "It looks like it is
something to do with his left knee.
"It looks like it is some sort of ligament damage, but we will have
to see how it settles down in the next couple of days. "Jonny is a great
He didn't want to come off. Hopefully, it might not be as serious as
it looked." England are due to begin their November Test series against
the Pacific Islanders in just over five weeks time before facing all
three Tri-Nations sides on successive weekends.
Ironically, an injury to Wilkinson could make life easier for
England's head coach Martin Johnson, who looks set to have 20-year-old
Danny Cipriani available to him in November. Cipriani is due to make his
earlier-than-expected comeback from a serious ankle injury on Wednesday,
when his club Wasps face Bath.
But Wilkinson's heir apparent cannot be called into the England squad
unless someone is injured or suspended as he was left out of a 32-man
elite squad named by the Rugby Football Union back in July. At the time,
it was anticipated that Cipriani would not be back in action before
mid-November and he was effectively ruled out of the November series.
With Wilkinson having departed after 25 minutes, Newcastle went down to
a 39-23 defeat in which Gloucester wing Iain Balshaw claimed a hat-trick