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Operation for Robinson
8 June 2007 15:52pm
England head coach Brian Ashton will be keeping his fingers tightly crossed that Jason Robinson's knee operation goes without a hitch next Tuesday.
England's management are confident Robinson's World Cup is not in danger and they expect the 32-year-old winger to be available for the August Test programme.
England warm up for their World Cup defence by facing Wales at Twickenham on August 4 before tackling tournament hosts France home and away.
But England must name their final 30-man World Cup squad on August 14, in between the two France Tests.
Ashton is already sweating over the fitness of Mike Tindall and Dan Ward-Smith and the last thing he will want is a further headache over Robinson's fitness.
Robinson, who will retire from rugby after the World Cup, is thought to be in a small group of players guaranteed to be included in Ashton's final squad.
That would be unlikely to change even if Robinson misses the three August Tests - providing he is fit for the World Cup - but it would certainly throw a spanner in the works.
Ashton is running out of time to gel a side and he could want Robinson available to play Wales just four weeks after he goes under the knife.
The South Africa tour threw up a few new contenders for the wider England training squad - the likes of hooker Mark Regan in particular - which Ashton will name next Friday.
But it did little to help him formulate the England team as a cohesive unit ahead of their World Cup defence, which makes the August programme all the more important.
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