Fears are growing that Dan Biggar will be unable to lead Wales in their Autumn internationals with the outside half seeking specialist advice on his knee injury but Courtney Lawes has taken the first important steps on his return from concussion and could become a captaincy option for Eddie Jones, the England head coach.
Phil Dowson, the Northampton director of rugby, gave an update on his key players after the 32-31 win over Newcastle but also confirmed that Tommy Freeman, the England wing, is still wearing a surgical boot to protect his ankle injury.
Biggar, who will leave Northampton at the end of the season, is crucial to Wales’s Autumn international campaign that sees them take on New Zealand on November 5 followed by Argentina, Georgia and Australia. Biggar, 32-years-old, left the field with a knee problem in his club’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Wasps on October 9.
Lawes, 33,who suffered a concussion against Leicester on September 24, has emerged as Jones’s preferred captain as he prepares for next year’s Rugby World Cup, has undertaken his first contact training session and will attempt to prove his readiness for matches this week in controlled training sessions. England start their Autumn tests against Argentina on November 6 followed by Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. However, Lawes was also troubled by concussion problems last season, missing two rounds of the Six Nations.
Dowson said: “Courtney is working through the concussion protocol and did some contact work on Saturday and that is really positive. There is no rush from that and he takes it at his own time and the medics are brilliant because it is a new system with quite a few steps and all that sort of stuff but it’s positive. It was Courtney’s first contact session but we haven’t set a return date because if we start making plans and things change. He is really good at communicating with me about when he is ready.
“Dan is going to get more specialist advice in terms of what that knee looks like and at the moment it is obviously difficult to know how long that will be and
is taking it day by day, but he is going to take it easy and he is in a knee brace. In terms of how long, probably weeks, but I don’t know to be honest and we will wait for the specialist.”
“Tommy is in a boot that comes off on Monday and they will x-ray it and then we will get more information.”