LONDON Jan 6 England flyhalf Toby Flood
looks certain to miss the first two games of the Six Nations
championship after suffering a knee injury, his club Leicester
said on Friday.
Flood would have been a certain starter for England
following the international retirement of Jonny Wilkinson but
has been ruled out for up to six weeks after straining a
ligament in last weekend's Premiership victory over Sale.
England begin the defence of their title away to Scotland on
Feb. 4 and then visit Italy a week later.
"He hurt his knee on Sunday and we initially thought it was
just like a dead leg but it swelled up overnight and he went to
see a specialist to determine the exact nature of the injury,"
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill told the Leicester
"It turns out that he has tweaked his ligaments and is
likely to be out for four to six weeks."
Flood joins fellow Leicester and England team mates Manu
Tuilagi and Louis Deacon on the sidelines. Centre Tuilagi is
also set to miss England's opening two matches while lock Deacon
will probably miss the entire tournament after both suffered
hamstring injuries last week.
Flood's absence is likely to open the door for 31-year-old
Charlie Hodgson to make his first Six Nations start for six
years and also increases the chances of Owen Farrell, his
20-year-old Saracens team mate and son of England assistant
coach Andy, to get his first taste of international action.
England's caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster will name his
elite player squad next week.
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