England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson will not tour New Zealand in June as he requires another operation.
Wilkinson will undergo surgery at the end of the season to repair a long-term cartilage tear in his shoulder. Rob Andrew, manager of the touring squad, admitted it was a big blow to the team’s aspirations.
“We would have liked him to tour and we intend to take our strongest available squad,” Andrew told the BBC.
“But player welfare is important and in this case it’s the right call for Jonny not to go to New Zealand.”
Wilkinson has remained relatively injury-free since 2004 and 2005, when he had numerous shoulder and knee ailments. He was dropped for England’s last Six Nations match against Ireland for wonder-kid Danny Cipriani, and this latest setback will be a further blow to reclaiming the English No. 10 jersey.