Rugby World Cup 2015

Wood cleared to play for England against Aussies

Wales' full-back Liam Williams receiving medical attention after he is kicked in the head by Tom Wood. The England flanker has apologised and says his action was not on purpose.
Wales' full-back Liam Williams receiving medical attention after he is kicked in the head by Tom Wood. The England flanker has apologised and says his action was not on purpose.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • England are facing a mounting injury crisis as they try to keep their Rugby World Cup hopes alive after a 28-25 defeat by Wales.

But they had some good news yesterday after flanker Tom Wood was cleared to play against Australia on Saturday after being warned by the citing commissioner for a "gruesome" incident that left Liam Williams unconscious.

The Wales full-back was kicked in the head by Wood as he scrambled on the floor trying to gather a loose ball at Twickenham on Saturday.

Woods apologised to Williams and insisted that it was not deliberate. But his actions could have been deemed reckless by the citing officer Mauricio Vancini.

A citing commissioner warning brings the same sanction as a yellow card, freeing Wood to face the Wallabies at Twickenham.

  • At A Glance

  • Pool B:

    Scotland 39 USA 16

    The Scots trailed 6-13 at the break but powered back with five second half-tries to secure their bonus-point win.

    But they will be without first-choice lock Grant Gilchrist for the rest of the World Cup because of a groin injury suffered in the match.

    It is a serious blow to them ahead of their key game on Saturday against South Africa.

  • Pool D:

    Ireland 44 Romania 10

    Wingers Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe each scored two tries for Ireland, who continued their serene progress by overpowering Romania.

    Ireland followed up their clinical victory over Canada with a six-try salvo to secure the bonus-point win that puts them top of Pool D.

England have concerns over Billy Vunipola and Ben Morgan, the two specialist No. 8s with knee injuries.

With only five loose forwards in the squad, the worst-case scenario would force Stuart Lancaster, the head coach, to call in at least one permanent replacement or press Sam Burgess into action as flanker.

Vunipola is rated 50-50 while Morgan is still recovering from the damage he suffered in England's opening-night win over Fiji.

Courtney Lawes, who could be switched into emergency back-row action, was replaced at half-time against Wales with a knee injury. He has no better chance than Vunipola of featuring against Australia.

Ben Youngs, the scrum half, damaged his ankle and is rated 60-40 to play. Jonathan Joseph is not expected to have recovered from a chest injury though he has not officially been ruled out.

Asked if the Australia match felt like a World Cup final, Lancaster said: "We're playing against a high quality team but, equally, we know it's a team we know we have beaten twice in the last two years.

"We will have to be at our best because I was impressed by what they did in the Rugby Championship and how much they've improved."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2015, with the headline 'Wood cleared to play for England against Aussies'. Print Edition | Subscribe