Scott Wilson will be involved for Newcastle Falcons at London Wasps tomorrow despite the prop having been stood down from the England Under-20s squad for next month’s Junior World Championship in New Zealand.
The tighthead prop already has a winner’s medal on the mantlepiece having been part of England’s first global triumph at that age group last summer, and has this season gone on to be capped by England Saxons.
The Scottish-born scrummager lasted only five minutes in the Falcons’ 23-18 defeat to Saracens a fortnight ago after suffering an elbow problem, but Newcastle’s director of rugby Dean Richards has revealed injury was not the reason for his omission from the England Under-20s group.
He said: “Scott will be involved down at London Wasps. In terms of his development going forward we wanted him to have a good pre-season, so it is not down to his injury.”
With England’s senior squad yet to be named for their summer tour to New Zealand the chance still exists for Wilson to represent his country, but one Falcon out for the long term is Ryan Shortland.
The Kiwi winger was stretchered from the field during last week’s blow-out against a Cumbria XV in Carlisle, Richards confirming the extent of the injury.
“Ryan has injured his Achilles, and has since had it operated on,” said the Falcons boss.
“They tend to be longer term than short term injuries, but we wish him all the best in his recovery.”
With the former Otago man out of contract in the summer that could theoretically be the end of Shortland’s time in Newcastle – Richards more immediately focused on the challenge of defeating Wasps tomorrow in High Wycombe.
Reporting mixed news on the injury front ahead of this afternoon’s team announcement, he said: “We are not quite at full strength, but we have a couple of boys coming back.
“Adam Powell is not quite back yet after pulling his calf against Saracens, but Scott Lawson (back) is fit.
“Ally Hogg (pectoral) is just on that point of returning, but you have to weigh up the risks and we will have to make a judgement call there over whether to use him or not.
“If it was a cup final then you might do, but depending on how things go this weekend we might the following week.”
Newcastle’s Premiership safety could be confirmed tomorrow should they take three points or more from Adams Park, or if bottom-of-the-table Worcester fail to win at league leaders Saracens.
Richards said when asked if it could be sighs of relief all round on the final whistle: “Yeah, it could be, but you don’t really want to be looking at other teams or relying on anybody else to do the job for you.
“All we are thinking about is going down to Wasps and winning that game. Whatever is happening with Worcester at Saracens is irrelevant to how we prepare, and we are putting it out of our mind.”
Hoping for a better outcome than their last visit to Wasps in 2012, when a 14-10 win was not enough to keep them in the top flight, he added: “It was a really strange day, winning the game but still being relegated. It was mixed emotions down there, but they were very quickly forgotten because you are straight into it and people just have to get on with it.
“It was very odd indeed, and both sides have come on since then in some respects.
“Wasps, if you look at their recruitment, they have size in the pack now and really good players.
“They have really developed as a side and, while we are probably still a year behind them, we are gradually getting there.
“Andy Goode knows how to control a game through the hands or with the boot, and he is a very patient player.
“I have known him a long time, and have a lot of respect for him as a rugby player.”