Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jonny Is Main Injury Worry

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jonny Is Main Injury Worry

Article excerpt


GOALKICKER Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Leonard, the most capped forward in European rugby, are England's major concerns as they prepare to face France at Twickenham on Saturday in their final Six Nations match of a championship now curtailed by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The Six Nations committee yesterday bowed to the inevitable and postponed Ireland's three remaining matches - against England, Wales and Scotland - until next season which means the Irish must play six internationals before Christmas.

A statement from the Six Nations committee last night said: "A meeting of the Six Nations committee was held to discuss the status of the foot-and-mouth epidemic and its effect on the Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship. After reviewing the position and the likely prognosis for the foreseeable future it has been unanimously decided that the following matches will be postponed until next season: Wales v Ireland, Ireland v England and Scotland v Ireland.

"There will now be consulta-

tion with unions and with commercial partners on possible alternative dates before firm dates are set. Further dialogue within the Six Nations committee will take place in the near future. The committee confirms that England v France will take place on Saturday, 7 April and Italy v Wales on 8 April."

The decision also means that England's players will have to wait until, probably, September to attempt a Grand Slam and collect at [pound]50,000 per-man bonus for achieving that feat.

First, they have to take care of injury ravaged France and getting Wilkinson and Leonard on to the pitch is vital if the Slam dream is to stay alive. Wilkinson picked up an injury late in Newcastle's 42-35 win over London Irish and had to be substituted.

However Rob Andrew, the Newcastle director of rugby, insists there is no cause for concern. …

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