Tom Croft ruled out for the season
September 11, 2013
Tom Croft turned out for the British & Irish Lions in the summer © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions flanker Tom Croft has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
Croft, who started the first Test for the Lions against Australia in the summer, suffered cruciate knee ligament damage during Leicester's win over Worcester at the weekend and has been forced to have reconstructive surgery.
The news will come as a huge blow both for Croft, the Tigers and England. Croft has already battled back from a career-threatening injury after he broke his neck playing against Harlequins in April 2012. He was forced to spend a lengthy spell on the sidelines but he recovered to play for the Tigers in January 2013.
He forced his way back into the England reckoning in time to play the final two matches of the 2013 Six Nations. He was showing signs of his 2009 form when he started all three Tests for the Lions and he was called up by Warren Gatland to feature on the 2013 trip to Australia. Croft won two more Test caps Down Under and was set to play a prominent role both for club and country this term.
But following Wednesday's news, it looks like England will have to turn to an alternative option at blindside while the Tigers will have a massive hole to fill in their back-row.
Richard Cockerill confirmed the news, telling the Daily Mail: "Tom had a bang on the knee at the weekend. We felt it was relatively innocuous but after further investigation the ACL (anterior cruciate) ligament was ruptured and he has had surgery to reconstruct it and that's his season finished.
"It's horrendous bad luck for Tom because it is only last year that he came back from a very bad neck injury and did so well for England but the Lions as well. But these things happen. Tom will make a full recovery but it's his season over. It's a blow but we have just got to get on with things."
Cockerill has also confirmed England fly-half Toby Flood will miss Saturday's game against Bath as he battles back from concussion while Lions duo Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs will also sit out the match at the Recreation Ground.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin