RUGBY : Martin Johnson was dealt another injury blow ahead of England’s autumn internationals after Mike Tindall limped off after just 16 minutes of Gloucester’s 28-23 Guinness Premiership defeat at Sale.
Martin Johnson was dealt another injury blow ahead of England’s autumn internationals after Mike Tindall limped off after just 16 minutes of Gloucester’s 28-23 Guinness Premiership defeat at Sale.
Tindall, who played alongside Johnson in England’s 2003 World Cup-winning side, appeared to have suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury which had ruled him out of Gloucester’s previous three matches.
He attempted to chase his own kick from near the halfway line but pulled up immediately and looked in severe distress as he trudged off the field with his head in his hands.
The injury makes the 31-year-old centre a huge doubt for England’s opening Test against Australia at Twickenham next Saturday and was all the more frustrating as Johnson had released him from the England squad to play for Gloucester and prove his fitness.
While Johnson’s problems are mounting, life is not getting any easier for Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath – whose side lost despite outscoring Sale by three tries to one.
Gloucester’s notorious disciplinary problems surfaced again in the 35th minute when Tindall’s replacement, Charlie Sharples, was shown a red card and flanker Andy Hazell and prop Paul Doran-Jones were also lost to injury.
Yet despite playing for more than half the match with a man less, Gloucester refused to buckle and hauled themselves right back into the match in the 66th minute with a converted try from Will James.
Greg Somerville went over with two minutes remaining but it was not enough to avoid a third successive defeat as Sale eased the pressure on director of rugby Kingsley Jones after a powerful first-half display saw them establish a 16-8 lead.