Hernia operation keeps Wilkinson out until Christmas

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The Independent Online

Jonny Wilkinson will be out until Christmas. The England fly-half, who was due to have a hernia operation yesterday, damaged his groin in training last week and is set to miss four games for Newcastle. Newcastle insist the player's latest injury setback is not serious and expect Wilkinson, 26, to be available for the Premiership tie with Leeds on 27 December.

"Jonny is in London and will have the operation," said the Newcastle director of rugby, Rob Andrew. "He damaged his groin last week and the injury is more commonly known as a sportsman's hernia, the same thing Alan Shearer had a few weeks ago. It's a fairly routine operation. It's another unfortunate blow to have Jonny out again with injury, but there's no point dwelling on it, you just have to deal with what's thrown at you."

Since Wilkinson kicked the drop goal that secured the 2003 World Cup he has not played for England. Neck, shoulder, arm and knee troubles, and an inflamed appendix, have kept him out, although he did appear for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand.