Rugby World Cup 2011

England sweating over star duo

2011-10-02 15:00
Jonny Wilkinson (AP)

Auckland - England were sweating on the fitness of World Cup linchpins Jonny Wilkinson and Mike Tindall on Sunday as they began preparations for the quarter-final against France.

Flyhalf Wilkinson and centre Tindall were injured in Saturday's arm-wrestle with Scotland when a late Chris Ashton try secured a come-from-behind 16-12 win for England to ensure they finished top of Pool B.

Manager Martin Johnson said it was not immediately clear if either player would be available to play France in Auckland on Saturday.

Wilkinson, whose drop goal secured the World Cup for the Johnson-captained 2003 England team, injured his right forearm near the end of the match against Scotland.

Although a scan cleared the pivot of serious injury, Johnson said there were still concerns.

"We will need another day or so to see where he is and if he will be available for the weekend," he said.

Tindall limped off after his midfield partner Manu Tuilagi trod on his leg and Johnson said it would be another 24 hours before they the full extent of the injury was known.

Despite reported internal strife within the French camp and their upset 19-14 loss to Tonga in their final pool game, Johnson was not taking Les Bleus lightly.

"It is situation normal with them. Who knows?," he said.

"That makes them dangerous. There is a feeling that they might be flying under the radar and there are a few teams under the radar and we may be one. Australia (may be one)."


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