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Rodd becomes latest England player at Sale to suffer injury setback

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Another England international at Sale is set to for a spell on the sidelines, Bevan Rodd the latest to get ruled out of selection contention following a desperate run in recent weeks that resulted in Manu Tuilagi and Tom Curry being unavailable since their return following the Rugby World Cup.

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The Sharks believe that Tuilagi isn’t far away from a comeback after his hand fracture, but Curry is due to have season-ending surgery on his hip. Now, Rodd has become the club’s third England player from the recent France 2023 campaign to suffer a hitch, director of rugby Alex Sanderson revealing on Tuesday that his prop has broken a bone in his toe.

Sale defeated Bath last Friday night in an AJ Bell arm wrestle to stay on top of the Gallagher Premiership, but Rodd has been ruled out of next Friday’s trip to Harlequins while he awaits consultant feedback on what is the best course of action to take to mend his injury.

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“Still a bit sore, that was the feedback we were getting on Saturday and Sunday,” said Sanderson on Tuesday evening when quizzed at his weekly media briefing on how his squad were recuperated from their round seven English league exertions.

“We have reduced the training loading to the tune of 20 per cent so we get that payback by way of effort next Friday night. We have looked after them. They have all come through baring Bev, who has fractured a pea-size one in his toe. We don’t know the length of it because he is able to move.

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“We thought it was turf toe two weeks ago. That’s the common injury, turf toe, a hyper-extended toe as a prop. Very common in the scrum. It was painful and it was bruised but wasn’t showing any of the real signs of tendinopathy in the foot and so we took him to get it scanned and he has got a really small fracture that was opening up with the amount of stress you put on it in through games.

“It was getting sorer and sorer and opening and closing during games. It’s obviously something you can play through because he did it twice, but it’s not something that we want to affect his toe by way of incurring arthritis down the line which would be a nightmare to handle, so it’s important that we let it stiffen and settle in the next few weeks.

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“How long that needs to take, it’s on the recommendation of the consultant we are going to see this week. There is an injection you can get to thicken the ligaments because it is such a small thing but it could have a ripple effect on his mechanics moving forward so he is not up for selection this weekend.”

Rodd is one of eight Sale players set to meet with Steve Borthwick next Tuesday in Manchester when the England coach visits their training ground (Tuilagi, the Curry twins, Ford, Jonny Hill, Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck are the other seven).

However, an x-ray means that the loosehead will go into that international squad catch-up for the Sharks players having missed their away clash with Harlequins. “He’s fine. Running around is generally okay. Nav (Sandhu, the club medic) was worried about Bev, his foot is bruising and it’s not presenting as it should the last two weeks even though he has been playing really well with it.

“This was Sunday and he comes in Monday and it’s Bev, ‘If you’re not training you can’t play. Nav thinks he might be able to get you through to the game but you are going to start losing form and it’s not fair for you to do that, it’s not fair on everyone else who is training and that’s the policy that we have’.

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“He was so adamant that he was going to train today [Tuesday] that Nav took him to an extra scan… and it flagged up to the extent where Nav is like, ‘You have fractured your toe’. Bev is like, ‘I’m relatively happy with the fact that I’m not playing or training because I have fractured a bone in my toe’.

“And they had a look at the x-ray and it [the break] is so incontestably small he’s like, ‘Well, that’s not very impressive is it’. He was p***ed off with the fact that it was really small and there is no doubt he is getting stick off the lads right now.

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“But it does affect the stability of your big toe, not to the extent where he can’t run around, act the goat, be life and soul of the party, be all those things and it’s not impairing as he is walking.

“But when you put it through the stresses and strains of making 10 tackles, 10 carries, hitting 16 rucks and winning all those scrum penalties as he did at the weekend, then it starts to take its toll and it will just get worst, chronically worse, over time so it is better that we look after him now than have to manage him forever if we pushed him through.

What’s the likely layoff period? “Don’t take me out of context because we have to take him to a consultant but just thickening the ligaments around it should probably protect it enough and a week or two is the best case for him to play without pain as he goes through the 50-minute mark of the game because he is good to the 50-minute mark.

“In fact, it didn’t really hurt until they brought him off but there is obviously something there.”

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