England captain Phil Vickery is winning his race to be fit in time for the two-Test summer tour to New Zealand.
Vickery was not expected to be fully fit until June 2 – the day England fly to Auckland – after suffering knee ligament damage playing for Wasps four weeks ago.
But he has made promising progress on a tough strengthening programme in the gym and is understood to be ahead of schedule.
Wasps are now hopeful Vickery could be involved in the Guinness Premiership final on May 31, should they reach Twickenham with a victory over Bath next weekend.
That could be enough to see Vickery included, even tentatively, in Martin Johnson’s first England squad when it is announced tomorrow.