Mike Ruddock has revealed Chris Latham’s knee injury is worse than first anticipated and that the former Australian international could be out for at least four weeks.

The Worcester director of rugby admitted yesterday Latham had sustained ligament damage to his left knee and although he could not be certain about the exact timescale he does not now expect the full back to be back in time for their Premiership match against Bristol on December 20.

That means the Wallaby legend will be out of this Sunday’s trip to Saracens and the European Challenge Cup double-header against Bourgoin.

“When we looked at him originally we felt it might just be some bruising and the medical staff were quite upbeat,” Ruddock said.

“Unfortunately when they had a second look at him they noticed a little bit more movement which indicated some ligament damage.

“He has had an initial scan which confirms that and he is going off to see a specialist on Friday to get a comprehensive view of it. The early indicators are it’s about four weeks for a grade two medial ligament strain.

“It looks like he won’t be back in time for the Bristol game, having said that if there’s ever anyone to beat a medical timescale it’s Chris Latham.”

Ruddock will also be without Matthew Jones for the visit to Vicarage Road because of a stress fracture in his foot. The fly half has been ruled out for between four and six weeks.

But it is the loss of the outstanding Latham that will hurt Worcester most. The 33-year-old has been in sensational form in the last two games and scored his first Premiership try in the victory over Newcastle.

However, later in that game he clashed with Falcons’ Tom Dillon near the corner flag after which he hobbled off the pitch.

Academy product Chris Pennell will assume the No 15 shirt on Sunday with All Black Rico Gear coming on to the wing. Loki Crichton will fill Jones’ fly half berth.