March 26, 2019 / 2:03 PM / 5 months ago

Italy hooker Ghiraldini has successful surgery on injured knee

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Italy - Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Britain - February 2, 2019 Italy's Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Sergio Parisse during the national anthems before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Veteran hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini has had surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and will begin rehabilitation ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year, the Italian Rugby Federation said on Tuesday.

Ghiraldini, who has 104 international caps, was injured in Italy’s Six Nations loss to France earlier this month, and will now return to French Top 14 side Toulouse to start the recovery he hopes will put him in the frame for World Cup selection.

Ruptured knee ligaments usually take in the region of six months to heal, and with Italy set to open their World Cup campaign against Namibia on Sept. 22 in Higashiosaka, it makes Ghiraldini a doubt for the first few weeks of the tournament.

“For me a new challenge has already begun and I will face it with all the determination possible to reach the next goal, to be able to return to the highest levels and be selected for the upcoming Rugby World Cup,” Ghiraldini said in a statement shortly after the injury.

Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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