Vickery set to miss Six Nations
January 8, 2010
Phil Vickery is still eight weeks away from a return © Getty Images
England look set to head into the Six Nations without former skipper Phil Vickery after Wasps confirmed that the tight-head is at least eight weeks away from returning after neck surgery.
Vickery picked up the injury in Wasps' European Challenge Cup victory over Racing Metro in October and while the club insist that his recovery is going well, he will be out for longer than the original three months predicted. However, England manager Martin Johnson, who will name his latest squad on Wednesday, will have been boosted by the news that prop Julian White is nearing a return to action having recovered from a torn hamstring. The veteran tight-head, who has not played since October, is in line to face Viadana in Tigers' next Heineken Cup clash next week.
"It looks like Julian will make his comeback next week and that gives him a chance for the Six Nations," said Leicester's head coach, Richard Cockerill. "He suffered a serious injury and ended up needing surgery, but working on his farm has kept him fit and it will be good to have him back, with Martin Castrogiovanni likely to be out for another couple of weeks."
Both Vickery and White were absent during the autumn internationals and as a result tight-head was cause for concern. Johnson called on Bath's David Wilson against Australia but he was subsequently ruled out of the matches against Argentina and New Zealand with injury. His Bath team-mate Duncan Bell was then recalled with Gloucester's Paul Doran-Jones also added to the squad.
Sale prop Andrew Sheridan is also not expected back from a dislocated shoulder until mid-February and Newcastle's promising loose-head Jon Golding is also on the treatment table, leaving England short of front-row options again.
The news is more positive for Wasps flanker Joe Worsley, who is expected back in training in four weeks after a knee ligament injury, but promising scrum-half Joe Simpson is out for 12 weeks after dislocating his shoulder against Harlequins at Twickenham on December 27. Long-term injury absentee Tom Rees is set to return to training in a minimum of six weeks following shoulder surgery.
England's opening game of the Six Nations is against Wales at Twickenham on February 6.
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