Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Injurymay Cost Joe Chance of Back Slot

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Injurymay Cost Joe Chance of Back Slot

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

JOE WORSLEY'S long wait to be considered a first-choice member of the most elite club in world rugby now depends on a foot injury that threatens his availability for England's opening Six Nations match with Rome in Italy on Saturday.

It has been the London Wasps flanker's misfortune to be vying for a starting place in the back row made up of Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back and Richard Hill.

However, Back's 66-cap career has been halted by Clive Woodward, who axed the Leicester flanker along with club-mates Graham Rowntree and Martin Corry, plus Saracens scrum-half Kyran Bracken, from a 28-strong squad that has assembled at their training camp in Bagshot.

Worsley will be desperate to play and erase the memory of his last England appearance - clapping fans on the way to the touchline against Uruguay in the World Cup after being yellow-carded for a high tackle. He was rebuked by England coach Woodward for that error of judgement.

The final 22-man squad will be revealed later today but it is certain that Worsley, who was stamped on during Wasps' win at Perpignan nine days ago and sat out this weekend's win at Bath, will be in the back row.

Back, 35-year-old, reacted in typical fashion to his demotion by saying: "I have told Clive that I am shocked and surprised but that I have no intention of giving up on my England career.

"Three short months ago I was on top of my game and I think individually nothing has changed. I'm not going to say I'm unavailable for the national team while I'm playing the game."

It is expected that Paul Grayson will be named as outside-half after confirmation that Jonny Wilkinson will undergo neck surgery on Wednesday and faces an eightweek rehabilitation period.

Wasps' Alex King is vying with Olly Barkley of Bath to be the replacement No10 while Jason Robinson, normally at full back, and Gloucester's Henry Paul are battling to play at centre alongside Will Greenwood. …

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