The chances of the former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio playing in the Six Nations' Championship receded yesterday with the news that his long-awaited Wasps comeback will almost certainly be delayed for a second time.
Dallaglio has not played since undergoing knee surgery last summer but had hoped to return in this Sunday's Premiership home match against Bristol. The England No 8 has, however, not completely recovered and player and club are unwilling to risk further damage.
"It is very unlikely. It is just a case of it not being quite ready," Malcolm Sinclair, Wasps' team manager, said yesterday. "It is pointless rushing it."
Dallaglio had originally pencilled in last month's encounter with Newcastle for his return but was forced to put that on hold after a further setback in training. The 29-year-old has not played since his tour of Australia with the Lions last summer came to a premature end.
The Ireland captain Keith Wood looks in serious doubt for the Six Nations game against England at Twickenham on 16 February as he continues to struggle with a calf injury.
John Kingston, Wood's club coach at Harlequins, said yesterday that the hooker was still undergoing treatment and looked a non-starter.
"Keith actually went into cast last week and it's clear that something is not clearing up that you would expect with a normal calf muscle tear," Kingston said. "He has remained in Ireland for a rescan.
"The decision to play is down to Keith and Ireland, but I have to say at this stage there are serious doubts about him facing England."
It is unlikely that Wood would make himself available for Ireland without playing a club match first. "Keith has said before that he wouldn't put himself up for Ireland before playing a comeback match for Harlequins," Kingston said. "He certainly isn't playing for us against Bath on Saturday so I think it's unlikely he'll be facing England."
Wood, who missed Ireland's 54-10 demolition of Wales last Sunday, has been out since tearing his calf muscle against Sale in December. He played a key role in denying England the Grand Slam last season, scoring a try in Ireland's 20-14 victory at Lansdowne Road.Reuse content