Rodber goes under the knife
December 2, 1999

England and British Lions forward Tim Rodber is unlikely to play again before Christmas after undergoing knee surgery.

Northampton star Rodber, who has won more than 40 caps, had a minor operation today and will miss this weekend's Allied Dunbar Premiership derby at Bedford.

Saints expect a three-week lay-off, which would also rule 30-year-old Rodber out of the crucial Heineken Cup home and away matches against Edinburgh Reivers.

"Losing Tim is a big blow, but it is important that he gets the problem sorted out now so he can return as soon as possible," said Northampton rugby director John Steele. "With him having the surgery straight away, we hope that we will only be without him for three weeks and then have him back injury-free for the remainder of the season."

Rodber recently returned to the club scene after a disappointing World Cup campaign when he made little impact, falling behind Danny Grewcock and Garath Archer in England's second row pecking order and making just two substitute appearances against New Zealand and Fiji.

But Northampton today received good news about another England player scrum-half Matt Dawson. Rodber's fellow Lion is back for the first time since damaging a hamstring during England's quarter-final defeat by South Africa in Paris. Dawson replaces 18-year-old prospect Ian Vass, who deputised for the Heineken Cup appointments with Neath and Grenoble.

Saints will be without Argentine prop Martin Scelzo though. He has a hamstring problem, so Scottish international Matt Stewart packs down in the front row at Bedford.

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