Leicester’s Richard Cockerill: England flanker Tom Croft ahead of schedule

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill says Tom Croft could be set to return to action sooner than initially expected

stuart lancaster
Tom Croft featured in every single Six Nations game earlier this year Photo: TSR

stuart lancaster

Richard Cockerill believes Tom Croft could return sooner than expected from injury, although Leicester’s director of rugby admitted the autumn internationals are still expected to come too soon for the flanker.

The 26-year-old Leicester star has been side-lined since damaging his neck in a Premiership encounter against the Harlequins at the Stoop in late April.

The injury has already forced Croft to miss England’s summer tour of South Africa and the start of the Premiership season, but Cockerill believes the forward could return to action sooner rather than later.

“He has had some repeat scans to see how the healing of the vertebrae is going,” he said.

“If that comes back positive then he can start to ramp that up and in three or four weeks he could be playing.”

Leicester have targeted their clash against Gloucester on October 27 as a possible comeback date for Croft, but even that would leave him facing an uphill battle to be selected for England’s opener against Fiji on November 10.

The last of his 36 caps for England came during this year’s RBS 6 Nations and, barring any setbacks, he should be fit to reclaim his place in the England side against Scotland when they kick off their 2013 campaign on February 2.

If Croft can regain the form that made him integral to England’s encouraging performances at the start of this year and to Leicester’s strong finish to the domestic season, he will also hope to force his way into Warren Gatland’s plans for the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

© Sportsbeat 2012

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