worldcup online – the real conversation

Thomas Waldrom flies out as cover for England

September 19th, 2011 by · No Comments · Rugby

• Waldrom called up as emergency cover for Nick Easter
• Watch World Cup video highlights, interviews and more

Leicester’s No8 Thomas Waldrom has flown out to New Zealand amid concern over the fitness of England’s Nick Easter. No decision has yet been made about Easter’s long-term participation in the tournament but the Kiwi-born Waldrom, who qualifies via an English-born grandmother, has been summoned as emergency cover.

Easter pulled out of Sunday’s win over Georgia with a back problem, just days after going bungy-jumping with team-mates in Queenstown. “Nick Easter is still suffering from a sore back so we will be bringing Thomas out as temporary cover,” said the England team manager Martin Johnson. “We’ve obviously spoken to Leicester and Thomas will be flying later today.”

England have still not confirmed whether they will be replacing Andrew Sheridan, who was ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup last week with a shoulder problem. The Sale prop has returned home but, as yet, Johnson has yet to decide whether he needs another front-row forward.

The decision to call up Waldrom, though, suggests there is a genuine worry about Easter, the only specialist No8 in England’s 30-man squad. The Harlequins captain started the first pool game against Argentina and was selected to face Georgia, only for James Haskell to fill in at short notice.

Waldrom, nicknamed the ‘Tank Engine’, was in England’s original 45-man training squad but failed to make the final cut. He is due to arrive in New Zealand on Wednesday , just three days before England face Romania in Dunedin. The 27-year-old, who joined the Tigers from the Crusaders, is now poised to join fellow Kiwis Shontayne Hape and Dylan Hartley in England’s World Cup party.

It is possible Waldrom will be retained as an official squad member even if Easter recovers sooner rather than later. England already have four props and appear confident Matt Stevens will recover from the lower leg injury he picked up against the Georgians. With Lewis Moody back in action and Mark Cueto available for selection against Romania, Johnson may now opt to wait a few more days before making a final decision. If he chooses another prop it is likely to be a straight choice between Paul Doran-Jones and Tim Payne. There has been speculation, though, that Wasps’ Riki Flutey is on standby, having narrowly missed out on selection originally.

England have yet to confirm officially how Easter suffered his back problem. If it transpires that he did tweak something whilst bungy-jumping last Monday, it will rank among the more surreal injuries in English rugby history. Johnson was adamant last week there was no risk involved in allowing his players to do a bungy jump during their stay in Queenstown. “What they do when they are training is far more dangerous,” insisted Johnson. “If any guy had an injury that would be jeopardised by doing it they wouldn’t do it.” © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & ConditionsMore Feeds

Read more…



No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment