Mike Ruddock has admitted he expects this weekend’s trip to Harlequins will be Eoghan Hickey’s last Premiership match with Worcester.
The Warriors director of rugby says he will speak with Exiles’ head coach Toby Booth after this weekend’s trip to the Twickenham Stoop and hopefully agree to hold on to the fly half for the next two European Challenge Cup matches.
That means Hickey will start against Quins on Saturday and - if Booth is amenable - will face Bucuresti Oaks and Petrarca Padova, after which he will return to the Madejski Stadium and cover for Shane Geraghty who is likely to be called up by England during the Six Nations.
But Ruddock does not anticipate keeping the 27-year-old beyond that as Loki Crichton and Matthew Jones will be close to fitness.
“We are going to watch our respective teams play this weekend then sit down on Monday and talk about whether or not we extend that deal,” Ruddock confirmed.
“A lot will depend on our injury report - Loki Crichton is getting closer and closer back to full fitness. He still hasn’t trained with the team yet but he is running straight lines at the moment.
“It also depends on whether London Irish want to call him back. If we could hang on to him for another week or two that would be fantastic but we will wait and see.
“How long he stays really is out of our hands. If London Irish want him back on Monday that’s the way it is. I need to see what Toby Booth’s plans are. If he is comfortable he can do without Eoghan for a couple more weeks there is a chance he might stay in the team for a few more games but I don’t see it going on longer than that. I think he will be returning to London Irish once we get Loki and certainly Matthew Jones fit.”
With Hickey under contract with Irish until the summer of 2010 there seems little prospect of the former Munsterman becoming a regular fixture at Sixways - at Ruddock had hoped he might be when he tried to recruit him in the last off-season.
Ruddock also revealed that Sam Tuitupou has undergone a successful operation on the anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up against Newcastle just after Christmas.
The ex-All Black saw surgeons in London yesterday and things went as smoothly as could have been expected.
“Hopefully we should find out a little more about what the surgeon thinks about it, but the early indications are that it has gone very well,” Ruddock said.
With Tuitupou out for the season Ruddock expects to name the side that would have started against Sale last Saturday - but for the match to be called off because of a frozen pitch, against Dean Richards’ men this weekend.