England suffer Six Nations blow as Wood misses openers with toe injury
Potential England captain Tom Wood will miss the opening two RBS 6 Nations matches due to a big toe injury which will require him to wear a protective boot for four weeks.
The Northampton flanker will miss England's games against Scotland and Italy after being told he needs to wear a protective boot on his left foot for the next four weeks.
Setback: Tom Wood will miss the start of the Six Nations campaign
Wood, who had been considered a
leading captaincy candidate, will still attend England's pre-Six Nations
training camp in Leeds next week.
An England statement read: 'Following
a specialist consultation yesterday Tom Wood will wear a protective
boot on his left foot for four weeks to allow an injury to his big toe
'The Northampton Saints and England
medics will in the meantime work to treat Tom and to monitor his
recovery. Wood will attend next week’s training camp in North Leeds.'
The loss of Wood is a huge blow to interim England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Leicester trio Toby Flood, Manu
Tuilagi and Louis Deacon are all sidelined through injury, at least for
the Scotland and Italy games, while Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is
battling to overcome a knee problem.
Leader: Wood has been pinpointed as a future England captain
Wood would have been a certainty to start at Murrayfield, and his absence will cause a back-row rethink for Lancaster and his coaching staff.
It could open the door for Bristol-born No 8 Ben Morgan to make a Test debut, with Harlequins captain and openside flanker Chris Robshaw captaining his country.
Morgan, who plays for the Scarlets and had qualified for Wales on residency, pinned his international colours to the England mast earlier this month, and he was immediately included in Lancaster's elite player squad.
Had Wood, who made England's World Cup squad last year but was largely overlooked by then manager Martin Johnson, been fit, then the likelihood would have been Robshaw packing down at number eight alongside Wood and Leicester's Tom Croft.
Robshaw is now favourite to skipper England in Edinburgh, although Croft and hooker Dylan Hartley both offer leadership credentials.