Austin Healey has been ruled out of England's pre-World Cup tours to Australia and New Zealand and could miss the start of next season.
The Leicester man suffered ligament damage in a crunching tackle from Munster's Rob Henderson in Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat. Leicester's director of rugby, Dean Richards, yesterday confirmed that the 29-year-old faces a long battle to regain his fitness. "I think it's fair to say Austin's priority now is to try to get himself ready for the World Cup," Richards said. "Hopefully he'll be ready for our pre-season but that depends on what happens."
England travel to Wellington and Melbourne in June as part of their preparations for the World Cup in October.
Isaac Feaunati, the Leeds back-row forward, has agreed a new two-year deal with the Tykes. The Zurich Premiership club have also announced fresh one-year contracts for the scrum-half Alan Dickens and the hooker Matt Holt.
Feaunati, a Samoan international who joined the Tykes from Rotherham two years ago, will line up against one of his former clubs, London Irish, when Leeds travel to the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.
"He has been an important part of our team since gaining promotion, and I am delighted that he has pledged his future to the club," the Leeds rugby director, Phil Davies, said.
Dickens joined Leeds from Sale at the start of this season, originally only on a temporary basis as cover for the injured Scott Benton, but he earned an extended contract, and has now agreed to stay for a further season.
The Australian-born Holt was Davies's first signing upon gaining promotion to the Premiership. Holt has switched from hooker to prop as injury cover this season, and Davies added: "Matt has developed incredibly, and his versatility and willingness to learn are vital to our squad."
The Northampton forward Mark Connors has won an appeal against a yellow card he received during Saints' Zurich Premiership victory over Bath last month. The Australian international was cautioned for driving the Bath captain, Danny Grewcock, out of a ruck. But Connors successfully appealed against the decision at a disciplinary hearing in Coventry, and it will now be removed from his record.
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