Varndell faces lengthy absence after surgery

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The Independent Online

Wasps will be without prolific winger Tom Varndell for 12 weeks after he suffered ankle ligament damage during Sunday's match with Gloucester.

Varndell was injured in a tackle with James Simpson-Daniel, who himself will miss three weeks, with the Wasps player left requiring surgery. The 25-year-old England player had been ever-present this season.

Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks said: "We are really disappointed for Tom, especially as this season he has been injury-free and has been involved in every single game. His form has been very strong and we will certainly miss him but are confident he will make a full recovery." Wasps play Leicester on Saturday and Varndell, who has scored 12 tries this season, will be missed.

Jonny Wilkinson will have a new rival for the No 10 shirt next season at Toulon after the Australian Test player Matt Giteau announced he would be joining the French side after this year's World Cup on a provisional 18-month deal with the option of an extra year.

Giteau will join a plethora of international fly-halves with England's Wilkinson, Argentina's Felipe Contepomi and Wales' Gavin Henson all vying for the starting spot. "The intention is just to refresh myself," Giteau said. "It's to get away from the same old routines which you can get caught up in. If I'm still playing some great football, I'd love to come back to the Brumbies."

Wales flanker Sam Warburton has signed a new deal with the Cardiff Blues. He has started both rounds of the Six Nations at open side and, aged 22, has a bright future ahead of him. "I'm a Cardiff boy, born and bred, and to be offered and sign a new deal is fantastic," he said.

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