England’s Tom Croft to miss Six Nations due to injury
Shoulder problem is likely to keep 25-year-old flanker out for a further two months, Leicester have confirmed
England flanker Tom Croft has been all but ruled out of the forthcoming Six Nations tournament with a shoulder injury.
Hopes that the influential Leicester Tigers forward would be able to return to the international scene in time for England’s opening fixture against Wales on 4 February have been dashed after it was revealed he is likely to require a further two months to fully recover despite no major surgery being required.
Croft suffered damage to his nerves after fracturing his shoulder blade in last month’s defeat to South Africa at Twickenham.
Tigers boss Richard Cockerill will be without his former British & Irish Lion for his remaining Heineken Cup pool fixtures away to the Llanelli Scarlets and at home to Italian side Benetton Treviso.
And the Leicester head coach has suggested that 25-year-old Croft could be out for up to three times as long as initially predicted.
“He will be out for another six to eight weeks from today,” said Cockerill on Wednesday. “It will be six weeks at best, but eight weeks is more realistic. His shoulder is intact but it was a pretty traumatic blow to it. The cartilage is all in one piece, but all the nerves around it have to recover.”
James Haskell, also 25, is Croft’s likely replacement and manager Martin Johnson has several back row options including veteran Joe Worsley or moving Lewis Moody to blindside.
Meanwhile, Phil Dowson has also made a strong case to be included in Johnson’s Elite Squad with a strong start to his season with league leaders the Saints.