England without Cole and Vunipola for autumn series
August 28, 2014
Dan Cole will miss the autumn internationals © Getty Images
Cole's last competitive action came in the 2014 Six Nations when disc problems in his neck sidelined him. He was forced to undergo surgery and missed the rest of the season and after undergoing surgery in June, Tigers boss Richard Cockerill says Cole got the all-clear last week.
"That gives him a timescale of 12 weeks to be back playing which is mid-November but we will give him as much time as he needs," Cockerill told the Daily Telegraph. "The disc was replaced. It is a metal disc, with a plate and a ball-and-socket joint inside. Dan needs the bone to graft around that. The disc will be stronger than the one he had there in the first place.
"He has not been able to do anything at all post-surgery for three months. Now he can do some running, some light weights, and gradually build himself back up. Stuart Lancaster has been very sensible about it. We will manage Dan as the medics see fit. What is important is that everything is done right and he is good to go, rather than have him come back early and have issues with it."
The news means David Wilson is favourite to continue at tight-head for England come their opening Test against New Zealand on November 8 with Kieran Brookes and Henry Thomas vying for a spot on the bench.
And at loose-head, Vunipola, who missed England's tour of New Zealand in the summer, is also a doubt for the November Tests. Saracens boss Mark McCall told the Daily Mail: "Mako has an injury from the European final. He'll be out for a while - until November possibly. But he has no chance for the autumn internationals."
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