WITH THE story surfacing that Alex Corbisiero may be out for at least three to four weeks with a knee complaint, via the Times, it was presumed that yet another hurdle had been put in front of England and their Elite Player Squad.
However, he is named in the EPS squad for the Tests and will be monitored after having fluid drained from his knee. He may feature later in the month, he may not but here are four players (Lions, no less) you will be definitely be gutted not to see in the November Tests.
The bottled lightning bolt that is Hogg has already been missed by Glasgow Warriors, but it is with Scotland who will be hoping to score counter-attacking tries against the likes of South Africa and Australia that will miss him most keenly. They will have Sean Lamont thumping up from the back-three alongside Tim Visser and Sean Maitland is there but he may have to play full-back with Hogg, Peter Murchie and Greig Tonks out. There just doesn’t seem the same unpredictability there.
Another ‘maybe’ player, Jamie Roberts has seemed an irreplaceable force in the centre for Wales. Perhaps he will stage another superhuman comeback for the sake of the November Tests, but there have been enough promising performances in Wales over the last few weeks – most encouragingly from Scott Williams at the heart of the Llanelli Scarlets team – and there are a few options there. But Roberts is undeniably influential when fully fit.
Another missing centre, Tuilagi will be joining Brad Barritt on the touchline as they cheer on new England boys Henry Trinder and Joel Tomkins. While some may see his injury as an opportunity to experiment over the coming months, the qualified thinking is that as soon as he is fit again he will come straight back in to renew his internal rivalry with Billy Twelvetrees.
Of course, it is also vital to realize that Tuilagi has a lot more experience than those replacing him, despite his lack of years. Having been through a World Cup, a Lions tour and big Tests against the likes of New Zealand. The others are going to have to learn fast.
The livewire wing is out for 10 weeks after a scan on Tuesday confirmed the Munsterman had fractured a bone in his foot during the province’s opening Heineken Cup loss to Edinburgh.
There may be fewer heart palpitations for Irish fans this November with Zebo’s kept away from the Aviva turf, but it also means there will be one less maverick running toward the likes of the All Blacks. If Ireland are to get that elusive win against New Zealand one cannot help but feel players like Zebo would only have helped with their work-rate and array of skills. Plus it’s always nice to hear the fans shout “Zeeeeeeebo!”
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Check out our exclusive feature with Simon Zebo in the November edition of Rugby World – out now!