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Christian Wade drops out of contention as England's injury worries widen

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

By Duncan Bech

Wasps wing Christian Wade will not be available for England during the Six Nations Championship after damaging foot ligaments  Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

Wasps wing Christian Wade will not be available for England during the Six Nations Championship after damaging foot ligaments Picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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England's injury problems continued to mount after wing Christian Wade was ruled out for up to six months with damaged foot ligaments.

Wade will undergo surgery after being hurt in Wasps' 19-12 Premiership victory over London Irish last Saturday and will miss the entire Six Nations Championship.

"It's devastating news for both the player and the club," Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said.

Wade was due to win his second cap in last month's autumn internationals, only for a hamstring injury to prevent him from starting against Argentina and New Zealand.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster was keen to give the British and Irish Lion a more prominent role amid the ongoing deterioration of Saracens wing Chris Ashton's form, and he was set to start the Six Nations opener against France on February 1.

But, unless he heals quicker than expected, he will not play again for Wasps this season and his participation in the summer tour to New Zealand is in grave doubt.

"Christian was hugely unlucky to miss out on being capped this autumn and he had hoped to push on and put in some good performances for Wasps to get him in contention for Six Nations selection," Young said.

"It is a huge blow for him but he is a young player with a huge future and his time will come around again."

England's options out wide are depleting rapidly with Marland Yarde and Ben Foden set to miss the Six Nations with respective hip and knee injuries. Wade's absence is likely to result in a Test reprieve for Ashton despite struggling throughout the autumn, while Charlie Sharples, David Strettle, Jonny May and Ugo Monye are in contention for promotion from the Saxons.

The depth of England's squad will be tested in the Six Nations as they contend with a disturbing succession of injuries. Flanker Tom Croft and prop Alex Corbisiero have been ruled out of the championship altogether, while centre Manu Tuilagi and lock Geoff Parling are unlikely to be involved.

Centre Joel Tomkins is another three-month casualty due to a knee injury, but his poor performances against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand last month put his participation in serious doubt.

Brad Barritt should be back from foot surgery by Christmas to reinforce the midfield.

Meanwhile, England have announced that next summer's Test series against New Zealand will be played in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton.

The series opens at Eden Park on June 7, continues at Forsyth Barr Stadium seven days later and concludes at Waikato Stadium on June 21. One midweek match has been scheduled against seven-times Super Rugby champions the Crusaders in Christchurch on June 17.

England's ambition of upsetting New Zealand in the series opener will be severely hampered by the scheduling row that means Lancaster will be forced to field a weakened team in Auckland.

The first Test takes place just seven days after the Premiership final at Twickenham, and the proximity of the dates means Lancaster is resigned to being unable to field his first-choice starting XV until Dunedin.

England's 2014 tour to New Zealand: Saturday, June 7: First Test (Eden Park, Auckland). Saturday, June 14: Second Test (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin). Tuesday, June 17: Tour match versus Crusaders (AMI Stadium, Christchurch). Saturday, June 21: Third Test (Waikato Stadium, Hamilton).

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