England flanker Hendre Fourie faces a race against time to be fit in time for the start of the 6 Nations, which see’s England travel to the Millennium Stadium to take on Wales in the tournament’s opening match.
The South African borne back-rower strained a calf muscle during England’s training camp in Portugal and is set to miss much of the camp leading up to the match with Wales. However it is hoped that he will return to training before the end of the week, and thus be in contention to earn his fourth cap.
The 31 year old Leeds Carnegie player made his debut in the 2010 Autumn Internationals and has so far made one start, his other two caps to date coming from the substitute’s bench. None the less, is Fourie were to miss out it would be a sizable blow to England manager Martin Johnson’s selection plans, as his captain, Lewis Moody, has been ruled out for the first two rounds of this year’s competition.
Meanwhile, Northampton’s winger Chris Ashton and Gloucester centre Mike Tindall will be hope to be fit in time to take to the Millennium Stadium pitch. Ashton has not played since suffering a thigh injury against Leicester in the Aviva Premiership back on 8 January, while Tindall also took a knock to his thigh, this time during a training session in Portugal. The Gloucester player has since returned to England for an MRI scan on the injury and it is hoped that the results will be in by the weekend.
Wales have also suffered their fair share of injuries, with George North, Gavin Henson, Tom Shanklin, Gethin Jenkins, and Adam Jones all being ruled out of the opener with England on 4 February, while scrum half Richie Rees is suspended.