Ed Slater knee injury a worry for Tigers and Stuart Lancaster

Fears grow that the lock could need surgery on a knee injury ruling him out until Christman

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The Independent Online

Leicester Tigers are awaiting news on the immediate future of Ed Slater, the uncapped lock who impressed the national coaches on England’s tour of New Zealand in June and is widely expected to push hard for a place in next year’s World Cup squad. Slater is suffering from a knee injury that is strongly rumoured to require surgery. If that turns out to be the case, he is unlikely to return to action this side of Christmas.

According to Leicester, where he has been appointed captain, the damage was caused during England’s comprehensive victory over the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch, and Richard Cockerill, the rugby director at Welford Road, initially expected Slater to miss the opening month of the new Premiership campaign. There are now fears that the injury is worse than at first thought, although there was no formal update from the club yesterday.

Any prolonged absence would be a bitter blow for Slater, who was among the five specialist second-row forwards invited to the England get-together at Loughborough University last month.

His contribution during the summer may well have moved him ahead of the Bath lock Dave Attwood in the pecking order and with the autumn international series at Twickenham looming large on the horizon, the time was right for a breakthrough.

 

Cockerill will be every bit as concerned as Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach. Another of Welford Road’s elite locking contingent, the Lions line-out specialist Geoff Parling, missed last weekend’s first-day victory over Newcastle through injury while a major recent signing, the World Cup-winning All Black veteran Brad Thorn, is still recovering from biceps surgery and is at least a fortnight away from fitness.

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