Croft injury is a blow for club and country - Club Rugby - Rugby Union - The Independent

Croft injury is a blow for club and country

Leicester Tigers 47 Viadana 8

This was not the best of afternoons for Richard Cockerill, the Leicester head coach. Nor was it a good one for Martin Johnson, the England manager. Twenty-six minutes into this formality of a bonus-point victory in Leicester's penultimate Heineken Cup Pool Three fixture, Tom Croft was helped from the field by two medics.

"He's done the same knee that he did five weeks ago," Cockerill said. "Same injury. That took five weeks. This will be similar."

Which means that Cockerill and the Tigers can forget about their Lions blindside flanker for their potentially decisive match against the Ospreys in Swansea next Saturday – and Johnson and England can do likewise for the first half of the Six Nations' Championship at least.

The painfully ironic twist for poor Croft was that he was making his first start since recovering from the medial ligament damage to the left knee that he suffered against Leeds at Welford Road on 28 November. "It's just purely bad luck to injure the same knee in the same spot," Cockerill said. "It's a shame for Crofty. He'd certainly be in the 23 for England."

It was not all bad news for Johnson. The tighthead prop Julian White returned midway through the second half for the first time since suffering the torn hamstring that did for his autumn international prospects. And Toby Flood, two months into his comeback, was in the finest of fettle, showing precision of Wilkinsonesque vintage in kicking five first-half conversions, the majority from tight angles. The Leicester fly-half also scored one of the tries as Cockerill's side summarily dismissed their Italian visitors.

Viadana hardly had the most auspicious of starts, Pierre Hola, their Tongan fly-half, hoofing the ball directly into touch from the kick-off, and they managed to hold out for all of five-and-a-half minutes before the England centre Dan Hipkiss bolted through a barn-door-sized gap for the first of his two tries. To their credit, Viadana then managed to stem the tide until the 21st minute. But at that point the dam burst.

By the 34th minute the Tigers had three more tries and the bonus point in the bag, the flanker Ben Woods having applied a scoring touch to a tidy little grubber kick by his back row comrade Jordan Crane, Flood having sniped his way over and the full-back, Scott Hamilton, having hared half the length of the field to score in the right corner.

Flood further distinguished himself with a telescopic pass out of the tackle for Hamilton to score Leicester's fifth try just before the interval.

Flood's conversion made it 35-3, but it was to be his last scoring contribution of the match and Leicester's last for some time. The former Newcastle player made way for Aaron Mauger 12 minutes into the second half and it was not until the 56th minute that the scoreboard started ticking again.

It was Viadana who got it moving, their scrum-half Pablo Canavosio racing up the left touchline to score after Hamilton and the wing Lote Tuqiri collided while going for a high ball.

It took the Tigers until the 71st minute to get their first points of the second half, Sam Vesty, making his first start of the season, slipping an inside pass for Hipkiss to score and then kicking the conversion. There was also a try for Mauger, making it seven in all. Plus the major blow on the injury front, of course.

Leicester Tigers S Hamilton (J Murphy, 59); A Tuilagi, D Hipkiss, S Vesty, L Tuqiri; T Flood (A Mauger, 51), B Youngs (J Grindal, 57); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 68), G Chuter, D Cole (J White, 57), L Deacon (capt), G Parling (L Moody, 59), T Croft (C Newby, 26), J Crane, B Woods.

Viadana G Law; M Pratichetti, S Cox, L Johansson, M Sepe (S Pace, 43); P Hola, P Canavosio (M Wilson, 63); P Sciamanna (M Cagna, 62), L Ferraro (capt; R Santamaria, 66), J Garcia (L Milani, 72), C Del Fava (G Krause, 54), S Hohneck, A Persico, J Erasmus, A Benatti.

Referee: J Jones (Wales).

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories