Rugby World Cup
Sheridan ruled out of World Cup
ESPNscrum Staff
September 13, 2011

England prop Andrew Sheridan has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with a shoulder injury, the RFU have announced.

Sheridan will return home for treatment, subject to final approval from the tournament's medical director, and he will be replaced in England's 30-man squad. England manager Martin Johnson is yet to decide on the identity of Sheridan's replacement.

Sheridan, who had just returned from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder, injured the left one in England's opening World Cup win against Argentina. The Sale loose-head prop has undergone two operations on that shoulder since dislocating it in October 2009.

Scans were sent back to the UK for the specialists who have operated on him in the past to determine the full extent of the problem. England received confirmation that Sheridan's injury was significant enough for him to be sent home. Under tournament rules he then cannot return.

Johnson said: "It's really sad for Sheri. He has been unlucky with injuries and we wish him all the best for his recovery. We brought five props so we have options there and we can bring another player out but we will decide what to do about that in due course."

The 31-year-old is not yet sure whether he will require more surgery. "It's a big blow to leave the World Cup through injury, but it's a significant injury to the shoulder, so I have to deal with that and get on with it now," said Sheridan. "I didn't know the exact incident that had caused it during the game; initially it just felt a bit sore, but a couple of days post-match it was still pretty painful and that's when I had the scan on it.

"I think everyone knows shoulders are quite complicated structures, so it's difficult to come back. It takes a lot of work and a lot of work from the physios and the conditioners as well to get players back from shoulder injuries.

"But we are where we are and you just have to get on with it and see what the results are after I've seen the specialist. I have to wait until I get back home and see the surgeon - I am quite well acquainted with him now. He will give me some good advice and see if I need an operation and what the next stage is."

Northampton prop Paul Doran-Jones and Wasps' Tim Payne are the leading options to replace Sheridan having been included in England's initial 45-man training squad. Johnson also confirmed England anticipate squad captain Lewis Moody will be available to face Georgia.

Moody has not played since limping out of England's first World Cup warm-up international with knee ligament damage. "We are hopeful he is going to be good to go," said Johnson. "We talked last week that he wasn't far off being fit. Another week is always better when you've been injured for a long time but, at some point, you've got to go and we are hopeful."

Johnson is planning to rotate much of his squad for the Georgia game to give as many as possible a taste of starting action in the World Cup. "We need to get the bulk of the squad on the field starting a game if we can because they need to be ready to play," said Johnson. "You can't sit them out for a few weeks and then say 'this is the biggest game of your life on Saturday - how are you fixed?' We will make our decisions before tomorrow's Scotland-Georgia game."

Johnson brushed off criticism for allowing his players to bungee jump as part of an adrenaline-fuelled day off in Queenstown. Some members of the squad completed the so-called Awesome Foursome - a 134-metre bungee jump, white-water rafting, jet-boating and a helicopter ride.

"What they do when they are training is far more dangerous than what they did there," said Johnson. "On these trips you need a balance. We came to Queenstown for a reason. The main reason is to prepare for the Georgia game but they have the opportunity to do things.

"In Auckland they went on the America's Cup boats. They haven't been skiing because that is too risky for injury. Bungee jumping is deemed to be something they can do. If any guy had an injury that would be jeopardised by doing it they wouldn't do it."

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