England’s misery could be compounded if Jonny Wilkinson is cited on Monday for a challenge on Welsh flank Jonathan Thomas.
England relinquished a 16-6 half-time lead to lose 26-19 to the Welsh at Twickenham on Saturday. To make matters worse, Mike Tindall (liver bruising), David Strettle (foot), Lewis Moody (Achilles) and Tom Rees (knee) have all been ruled out of Sunday’s match-up with Italy because of injury. Tindall could miss the entire competition and is currently recovering in hospital.
The bad news is they may be without their star player as well, with Wilkinson under scrutiny for a tackle on Thomas. Thomas was knocked cold after Wilkinson’s forearm inadvertently connected with his jaw when the England No 10 moved in for the tackle.
“There has been speculation that it was my tackle that led to it,” Wilkinson wrote in his column in The Times. “I feel that it was not my tackle and I would add that it is always very sad to see a player going off injured. I am firmly against foul play in the game.”
A decision will be made on Monday afternoon, although it is unlikely Wilkinson will be cited given the challenge lacked malicious intent. However, England will be under immense pressure to produce against Italy after such an embarrassing defeat.