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'Bone actually came out': Ugly injury makes Lawes an England doubt

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Courtney Lawes is potentially facing a race to be fit in time for this July’s England tour of Australia after Northampton shed light on the ugly injury the Guinness Six Nations captain suffered during last Saturday night’s defeat for the Saints at Gloucester. Northampton lost out 31-21 at Kingsholm in their all-English round-of-16 European Challenge Cup clash, a setback compounded by the loss of Lawes after just 15 minutes. 

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The commentary in the aftermath of the game from a Saints perspective focused more on the red carding of recent Wales skipper Dan Biggar, but it has now emerged that their England skipper suffered a horrible-sounding dislocated thumb injury and there is no definitive timeline yet for his recovery. 

“Courtney had a compound dislocation of his thumb,” explained Chris Boyd at the Northampton media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Bath. “It was quite nasty because the bone actually came out. 

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Mike Brown | Rugby Roots
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Mike Brown | Rugby Roots

“But it’s been popped back in, it’s been irrigated and sewn back up again. He has still got some medical decisions to be made around the skeletal function of the thumb and the muscle and ligament situation. All I can really say until we get a clearer medical view is that he won’t play on Saturday.

“He came into training on Tuesday afternoon and he was pretty upbeat. He was disappointed and he didn’t want to look at it because he knew it was going to be a bit challenging, but he is as good as can be. He certainly needs specialist consultation to make a decision on what is the best course of action for him going forward. The hand specialist will come back and say ‘x, y or z’ and whatever he says will happen.”

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Lawes captained England twice in the Autumn Nations Series when Owen Farrell was unavailable but he missed the start of the recent Guinness Six Nations with a concussion before returning for the final three matches, skippering his country against Wales, Ireland and France. 

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With Northampton still in the hunt for a Premiership semi-final place, they will hope that the 33-year-old will be available for the club season run-in in June just weeks before England begin their three-Test tour against the Wallabies on July 2 in Perth. 

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