Wasps boss Lee Blackett has revealed England lock Joe Launchbury will be out for six weeks with a stress fracture but believes he can return to full fitness before the end of the Six Nations.
Launchbury has stress fracture of his fibia but may be back before the end of the Six Nations. “It is massive loss to England to lose Joe and it looks like he will be out for the first three games and it’s disappointing in the short term for Joe,” said Blackett, the Wasps director of rugby. “We got the injury scanned to make sure there was nothing serious and we expect him to be out for six weeks and we will try our best to get him back for the last couple of games.”
“We were on an artificial surface the other day for the first time and whether that has aggravated it slightly.”
Blackett has backed Matteo Minozzi’s decision to rule himself out of Italy’s Six Nations championship campaign because he feels “physically and mentally tired”. Minozzi, who has won 22 caps, chose to stay with Wasps and play in the Premiership final rather than team up with the Italy squad to face Ireland in their rearranged Six Nations 2020 match in October.
Blackett is preparing his players for their Premiership match at home to Harlequins on Sunday and is now without Tom West who has been called up by England to replace Joe Marler and said: “It’s been a tough period for Matteo and I am sure it won’t be the last time we see him in an Italy shirt. I spoke to him in detail about this eight weeks ago and we felt he needed a mid-season break.
“If Matteo wants to play international rugby we are fully behind and if he doesn’t we are also fully behind him. It is something he thought long and hard about after being out for a year with a bad injury then goes to a new country and it’s been a tough period. We will manage him through this period. A lot of people may have worried about losing their place in the future but Italy are very understanding.
“He has said enough is enough for the time being.”
Minozzi, 24-years-old, revealed his decision on social media saying: “After the Autumn Nations Cup, I’ve been thinking for a long time about my performance and how much Italian colleagues, coaches and fans expect from me.
“The last year has changed many things, changing the country and a few months after having to experience the UK lockdown away from everyone has been a great and difficult challenge.
“Meanwhile, I’ve worked like never before in my life to find my place in a super competitive reality like the Premiership and to find myself ready for Italy last fall. I wanted to be honest with Franco (Smith, Italy head coach) and I want to be honest with all the Italian enthusiasts who believe in me and love me: “I’m physically and mentally tired, a bit too much to live another two months in a bubble.
“I hope even if you can’t support it, you’ll understand my choice. I will cheer for my teammates like I always did for the national team and wish my teammates and all the staff the best of luck. I can’t decide if and when I return, but I hope I’ll be given the opportunity. Come on Italy.”
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