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Regan injury main worry for England
PA Sport
January 27, 2008

World Cup hooker Mark Regan has emerged as England's latest casualty ahead of the RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales at Twickenham.

And centre Mike Tindall, who is poised to make a Test return next Saturday after missing the 2007 World Cup campaign through injury, suffered bruised ribs during Gloucester's Guinness Premiership victory over Wasps.

A 33-man England training squad assembles in Bath tonight, with Paul Sackey (mumps), Simon Shaw (ankle), Nick Easter (knee) and Lesley Vainikolo (knee) also requiring assessments.

Jonny Wilkinson though, reported no ill-effects after being the victim of a reckless high tackle by Leicester fly-half Andy Goode as Newcastle crashed 41-14 in the Premiership yesterday.

Reviewing the incident, Newcastle rugby director John Fletcher said: ``It wasn't pretty.

``I don't know the kid (Goode) personally, I don't know his character, but you have to hope that wasn't deliberate because it was a bad shot.

``I suppose you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

``Maybe it was just a reflex action after Jonny stepped off his right foot, but I saw him (Goode) do the same thing last week against Leinster and it didn't look good at all.

``Jamie Noon was taken out off the ball in the same move, but thankfully both players picked themselves off the floor and are okay.''

Regan, meanwhile, took a blow to his neck/head area that forced him off during Bristol's Premiership game at Worcester.

Bristol head coach Richard Hill said: ``He would not have come off if he was not 100%.

``It depends on how he reacts now - it is not what he would have wanted.''

Regan is expected to retain his place in an England line-up due to be announced by head coach Brian Ashton on Tuesday afternoon.

Provided they all overcome their various ailments, Sackey, Tindall, Shaw and Easter are expected to join him on starting duty next Saturday for England's first game since the World Cup final against South Africa in Paris.

Mumps victim Sackey is no longer contagious in terms of the virus that forced him out out of Wasps' last two fixtures, while Gloucester boss Dean Ryan has played down any fears surrounding Tindall and Vainikolo.

``I don't think it is something to be overly concerned about,'' said Ryan, of Tindall's injury.

Vainikolo, meanwhile, missed the Wasps encounter, but Ryan added: ``There is no reason to see why he won't be 100% for next weekend.''

One player definitely not involved next Saturday is 2003 World Cup winner Josh Lewsey, who was one of the surprise omissions from Ashton's initial Six Nations squad.

And it could well have been a mistake, judging by his outstanding display for Wasps at Gloucester.

Newcastle centre Mathew Tait is set to wear England's number 15 jersey against Wales, with Tindall partnering Toby Flood in midfield, yet Lewsey can consider himself unlucky on current form.

Wasps skipper Lawrence Dallaglio mused: ``He (Lewsey) has gone from being one of the best backs in the World Cup to not being there at all.''

And Wasps coach Shaun Edwards, who will report for duty with Wales this week as part of Warren Gatland's support staff, added: ``If England can afford to be without Josh Lewsey, they must have some team.''

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