Jason Robinson's return to England activity after a year of premature retirement from the Test game could be hastened by the latest of the Gloucester wing James Simpson-Daniel's many visits to the orthopaedic surgeon. Simpson-Daniel, suffering from a broken collar-bone, will miss his country's four-match international series in November - two matches against South Africa, one against Argentina and a hugely controversial money-making meeting against New Zealand that may yet be the subject of further courtroom argument.
Under an agreement between the Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby, the umbrella organisation representing the top-flight professional clubs, the England coach, Andy Robinson, must wait until January before revising the 40-strong squad he named earlier in the summer. However, a player may be drafted into the squad if someone drops out before the first England get-together, which in this case is not scheduled until the end of September.
Much to the coach's joy, his namesake indicated on Thursday that he was ready to reconsider his decision to turn his back on the England cause. The Sale full-back and captain cited his recent six-week break from all rugby concerns as the key reason behind his change of heart, but it is also true that the recent changes to the red-rose hierarchy - most notably the appointments of Brian Ashton as attack coach and Rob Andrew to the role of director of élite rugby - represent, in Robinson's view at least, a very definite turn for the better.
Ashton was the man who, during his first stint as Bath coach, persuaded Robinson, then one of the biggest names in rugby league, to try his luck in the union game. He also has a high regard for Andrew, whose understanding of, and empathy with, professional club rugby gives the sport in England its best opportunity yet to solve the political issues that have been so damaging for so long.
Talking of which, Premier Rugby say they are "working through the process" of appealing against the High Court judgement backing the RFU's right to hold the extra autumn international against the All Blacks on 5 November.Reuse content