Danny Grewcock, an elder statesman of the England team but not beyond picking up rugby union's equivalent of an Asbo on the odd occasion, is in trouble once again. The Bath lock will appear before a disciplinary panel in Bristol next Thursday to answer a charge of stamping on the Sale flanker Nathan Bonner-Evans during a tight Guinness Premiership contest at the Recreation Ground eight days ago - a game Bath won with a drop goal in stoppage time.
Grewcock was cited by one of his own kind - Peter Larter, who played in the second row for England in the late 1960s. Bonner-Evans was hurt at a ruck near the Sale line during the second half of the match and required treatment for a blow to the head that he appeared to suffer in making a tackle. However, there was some "footwork" from the Bath forwards as they attempted to recycle the ball, and if Grewcock is found to have been too aggressive or overly cynical in his actions, he will face a suspension that could threaten his participation in the first round of Six Nations Championship matches in early February.
Another Test lock, Ian Evans of Wales, will miss the entire tournament, having dislocated a shoulder while scoring a try for the Ospreys during their Magners League game with Cardiff Blues before Christmas. Specialists say Evans' shoulder is now chronically unstable and have recommended reconstructive surgery, which will render him inactive for at least six months. He may or may not recover in time to participate in the World Cup, which begins in September.
With the top-flight English clubs taking a short break this weekend - the next round of Premiership matches is on New Year's Day - attention switches to National League One and a Yorkshire derby between Earth Titans, once known more simply as Rotherham, and Leeds at Clifton Lane this afternoon. The visitors have a three-point advantage at the top of the table and are favourites for promotion. Victory today will shorten the odds still further.
Leeds, relegated last season, have three internationals in their starting line-up - the Samoan centre Anitelia Tuilagi, the Scottish flanker Jon Dunbar and the Argentine loose forward Martin Schusterman - plus another three on the bench, including the Springbok midfielder Andre Snyman, who has rejoined the club after a stint in France with Perpignan.Reuse content