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Absent England No7 Sam Underhill has suffered another Bath setback

By Chris Jones
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Hopes that concussion-hit Sam Underhill might soon be back in the mix at Bath and prove his fitness for a Guinness Six Nations call-up have been hampered by a positive test for Covid-19,  which has forced the England flanker to isolate before he can see a specialist. Underhill is still hoping to be cleared to return in time to play some part in the Six Nations with England after suffering a fourth concussion in the last eight months. 


A starter in all three of England’s Autumn Nations Series matches, the 25-year-old was hurt tackling Gloucester’s Jordy Reid on Boxing Day and his return from the resulting four-week break lasted just 15 minutes as he sustained another head knock when featuring against Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup.   

Those quick-succession setbacks have led to suggestions that Underhill is not getting properly protested by Bath boss Stuart Hooper doesn’t agree. “The thing you get with Sam is he is a high profile player and people make assumptions which are pretty dangerous. He is in a GRTP (graduated return to play) process which is being hindered at the moment by Covid.

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“That will continue and the great thing is that process is now individual and the experts that we use and people we will see will make a programme for him. It is not a blanket that you have to do this or that. It is the week-long process that everyone has to be clear on and beyond that it is very individual. 

“As soon as we get Sam out of isolation then we can get to see a specialist and make sure he has the right plan. What is really important is the facts in this kind of situation and people write and talk about these things based on what they know from their position. 


“We are working with Sam and dealing with it. He is a tremendous rugby player and committed defender who has had a couple of head knocks. It is being handled in a way we believe is the right and safest possible way and you will see that he is excited about getting back to playing. 


“He simply hasn’t seen the specialist and with head knocks and player welfare being a hot topic, when he is out of isolation we will have a plan.”


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