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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 18:21 UK

Wilkinson out of New Zealand tour

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson is the highest points scorer in Test history

Newcastle fly-half Jonny Wilkinson is to undergo shoulder surgery at the end of the season, ruling him out of England's tour of New Zealand in June.

The 28-year-old will have an operation to repair a cartilage tear.

"We would have liked him to tour and we intend to take our strongest available squad," said Rugby Football Union elite rugby director Rob Andrew.

"But player welfare is important and in this case it's the right call for Jonny not to go to New Zealand."

England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on 1 June ahead of two Tests against New Zealand later that month.

606: DEBATE

The tour will be overseen by Andrew, as newly appointed team manager Martin Johnson will stay at home to be with his pregnant wife Kay.

Wilkinson became the highest points scorer in Test history during this year's Six Nations, but he also lost his starting place at fly-half to Danny Cipriani in the final match against Ireland.

However, having signed a new two-year contract with Newcastle, Wilkinson had set his sights on forcing his way back into the team.

He had also been enjoying a relatively injury-free spell, having missed much of 2004 and 2005 with shoulder and knee problems.

He missed the Falcons' last game against Sale recovering from concussion, but is expected to return for the visit of Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

However, once Newcastle's season is over, Wilkinson will undergo surgery on what is described as a "long-standing cartilage tear".


see also
Newcastle 8-13 London Irish
13 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Wilkinson lauds Cipriani display
17 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
'Fire still burns' for Wilkinson
12 Mar 08 |  English
Cipriani takes Wilkinson's place
11 Mar 08 |  English
Rugby union on the BBC
17 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union


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