The persistent injury crisis that has depleted Worcester’s back row resources all season has struck once again with the news that flanker Tom Wood will be out of action for four months.
The former Barkers Butts starlet, who came through the Warriors Academy system, burst onto the first team scene last season and has made 27 appearances for Mike Ruddock’s side with a string of dynamic and determined displays on the blindside.
The 22-year-old, born and bred in Coventry, had made seven starts for Warriors this term but will go under the knife this week to cure a persistent right shoulder problem that is now interfering with his playing and training.
Ruddock believes Wood has both the talent and physical size to become an international back row forward and has backed his young star to make a full recovery in the New Year.
“It’s a blow that Tom’s shoulder condition requires surgery and we wish him a speedy recovery,” the director of rugby said. “We have taken the decision to allow surgery to be performed as soon as possible in the interest of both the player and our team.
“Further delay and exposure to the shoulder could result in the injury requiring bigger surgical intervention which, in turn, could create a longer rehabilitation period and put Tom out for even longer.
“Tom is an outstanding young forward with a very bright future ahead of him. We will now do everything in our control to make sure he is given the very best support and treatment to allow him to not only make a successful return but also achieve his full potential in the future.”
That has not helped Ruddock’s preparations for their next match against Sale on Friday week. Although skipper Pat Sanderson returned from his own long term injury against Harlequins on Sunday, James Collins is given just an evens chance to make it back while Kai Horstmann is more likely to return against Newcastle the following Friday.
That could see Sanderson shifted to the No 6 shirt with youngster Jake Abbott handed his Premiership debut at Edgeley Park following his try scoring performance in the loss to ‘Quins.