Rugby Union: Carling injury scare

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The Independent Online
WILL CARLING, the England captain, suffered an ankle injury while playing for Harlequins yesterday, but insisted he would be fit for next Saturday's Five Nations' Championship opener against France at Twickenham.

Carling, who has led England to two successive Grand Slams, went off after 14 minutes of the Courage League First Division match at Orrell. An eyewitness said that his leg took the weight of a pile-up of players when he was tackled into touch, and he was limping heavily after the match, which Orrell won 18-16.

Carling's prospects of facing France should be clearer after today's England squad session. Capped 38 times, he has not missed a Five Nations' match in five seasons since he was first selected in 1988.

But the England captain has suffered two injuries in the first fortnight of the year having been hurt on the training trip to Lanzarote. And, if he misses the French match, his replacement would, ironically, be the player whose tackle inflicted the first injury, the Bath centre Phil de Glanville.

Carling was quick to reassure the England manager Geoff Cooke last night. 'There is no danger of him not playing at Twickenham next week,' said Cooke, who yesterday was criticised by Northampton's director of coaching, Barrie Corless, for overworking the England players in Lanzarote.

'Will told me that he came off only as a precaution when somebody fell on the back of his ankle. With these sorts of injuries the first real indication is an examination after a night's rest, but we don't think we've got a problem.'

Another, possibly more serious concern for Cooke is Dewi Morris, the Orrell and England scrum- half, who hobbled throughout yesterday's game with a thigh injury.