Injury rules out Shaw for season

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The Independent Online

Simon Shaw's hopes of going with England to the World Cup in South Africa in May were dashed yesterday when the results of a scan on his injured knee showed he had torn the medial ligament in his right knee.

Shaw, an exceptional second-row prospect at 21, 6ft 9in and 20st, will have the knee in plaster for a month and will be out of rugby for six, leaving him to set the beginning of next season for his comeback. "I am very disappointed - but these things do happen," he said yesterday.

The injury occurred during last Sunday's A international against Italy at Gloucester, where despite its severity Shaw was permitted to hobble round the pitch back to the dressing-room. He had previously hurt the knee when he played for the Barbarians against Leicester at Christmas and in Bristol's league game at Harlequins a fortnight ago.

"Until I had the result of the scan I was hopeful of getting back in time to challenge for a World Cup place," Shaw said yesterday. "It seems my right medial ligament is more or less shot away. It feels very unstable although I haven't been in any pain since doctors fitted a brace."

Shaw has been on regular pre-international stand-by this season because of Martin Johnson's persistent hamstring trouble. Now Jack Rowell, the England manager, may have to revert to the 1993-94 player of the year, Nigel Redman, as cover for Johnson and Martin Bayfield.

Meanwhile Shaw's club believe they are about to sign the outstanding 20-year-old Neath outside-half, Arwel Thomas, though he would not be eligible to play league rugby for Bristol until next November and, now that Neath know about it, they will be working to keep him.