Blow for England as Croft out for year
England head coach Stuart Lancaster will have to plan for this season's Autumn Internationals and the Six Nations campaign without Tom Croft, the Leicester and Lions flanker, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season by a knee ligament injury.
Croft (27) sustained the injury in the closing minutes of Leicester's Aviva Premiership win against Worcester and underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair damage to an anterior cruciate ligament.
News of his season-long absence was broken yesterday by Richard Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby: "It is horrendous bad luck for Tom. He came back from a neck injury last year to play so well for Leicester, England and the Lions. But these things happen in sport.
"He will make a full recovery, but it takes time. It is a big blow for him and for us, but we will look forward to welcoming him back when he has fully recovered."
The knee injury is the latest setback for Croft (left), who fought his way back to full fitness last season after he broke his neck in three places against Harlequins in April 2012.
He returned to action with Leicester in January and reclaimed his England place in last season's Six Nations decider against Wales, having been told by a specialist that he might have been paralysed by his injury.
In addition to his neck injury, Croft has twice previously fought his way back to fitness from other knee injuries during a career of extreme highs and lows.
Croft's long absence will be a blow to Lancaster as he was expected to be an integral part of the coach's plans this season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)