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New injury fear for Wilkinson

01/10/2008 10:40:24 AM Comments (0)

Jonny Wilkinson's injury curse struck again when the England flyhalf was carried off during his club Newcastle's English Premiership defeat at Gloucester.

The 29-year-old, who hardly played between the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, only returned from a six-month layoff this month following shoulder surgery.

The latest injury is to his knee, which he appeared to twist at a ruck.

The setback could leave Wilkinson doubtful for England's November Test series, which begins against the Pacific Islanders in just over five weeks and also features clashes with South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

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 of tries.

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