Bath given boost as Flatman 'on the mend'

David Flatman, the Bath and England prop, believes he could be back playing in early October after a successful operation on his Achilles tendon.

Flatman, 24, had his operation last Thursday and while cautious about pinpointing a return, expects to be back in a Bath shirt not long after the Premiership season kicks off on 4 September. He said: "The operation went well. The ankle is still a little sore at the moment and there is quite a lot of bruising, but it is good to know that I am now on the mend.

"I am not going to target any sort of return to action yet. We are probably looking at around 12 weeks at the moment which will rule me out of the first few Zurich Premiership matches. However, you never know, it could be sooner as [Bath's head of physical preparation] Chris Mallac and his medical team are extremely good at what they do - we will have to wait and see."

Another player on the comeback trail is Leicester's fly-half Sam Vesty, who plans a return to the Tigers first team after injury wrecked his 2003-04 campaign.

The 22-year-old underwent groin surgery at the beginning of the year before a "stinger" - a nerve pain that shoots down the neck - finally ended his season. But with a return to full fitness not far off, Vesty is looking for a return to the form which won him the supporters' and players' awards for Young Player of the Season in 2002-03.

He said: "I'm hoping to be involved in at least one of the pre-season games.I certainly feel like I could play and I've taken part in pre-season training, but the truth is I can't take that final step and take contact just yet as the injury could flare up again.

"It goes without saying that I want to be in the 22. I know I haven't played in a while, but if I get a spot on the bench hopefully I can force my way back into the starting line-up."

Sale Sharks will be without Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe for the first four months of the season. The Argentinian second rower injured his knee playing for the Pumas against the All Blacks last month and will join the club after Christmas.

Director of rugby Philippe Saint-André said: "It is a blow for us as we are trying to build a side capable of beating the best in the league, but it is one we will overcome - I will find a replacement before the start of the season."

Meanwhile, Ireland and Scotland have secured their places at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong next year after coming through the qualifying finals in Mallorca. England had already guaranteed their place at the tournament and they were joined by the Irish and Scots as well as event-winners Portugal plus Italy, France, Georgia and Russia. Scotland lost in the semi-finals to Portugal while Ireland were beaten by Italy.

The Scots suffered a surprise 24-14 defeat to Georgia in the group stage but they bounced back to beat France 35-0 in the last eight. Coach Rob Moffat said: "I don't know what happens but the French bring the best out of us. We won our last five matches against them and we knew how to handle them."

Ireland coach Ryan Constable was also pleased with his team's performance. He said: "This will enable the Irish Union to create a programme for the Ireland sevens team, to enable us to compete with the best in Hong Kong next year."

Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch