10:38AM, Tuesday 13 May 2014
Former England wing Mark Cueto fears London Irish flyer Marland Yarde could lose momentum in the same way a young Danny Cipriani did after being hit by injuries early in his career.
Yarde has been busy reminding Stuart Lancaster of his electrifying talent ahead of England’s tour to New Zealand, running in a hat-trick of tries at Gloucester before signing off from the Madejski Stadium with a score against Sale Sharks.
But the 22-year-old’s breakthrough moment in an England shirt may have arrived at the Six Nations if not for a ripped hip tendon last November, forcing him to spend three months on the sidelines.
In 2008 Cipriani had looked a ready-mate replacement at fly-half for Jonny Wilkinson but, after a horror ankle injury in the same year, only now is the Sale Shark truly working his way back into Red Rose contention at 26.
London Wasps speedster Christian Wade has also been rocked with injuries this year and Shark Cueto admits such setbacks so early in a career do not often bode well for the future.
“Hopefully Wade and Yarde’s injuries will stop but I’m injured at the minute, and talking to the physios and strength and conditioning coaches we have at Sale, when you see young players pick up injuries you do worry for them in a way,” said Cueto, who at 34 remains one of the most durable backs in rugby.
“Look at Cips (Danny Cipriani), he had an outstanding 12, 18 months with Wasps and England and then got a horrible fracture dislocation of his ankle.
“He’s been completely off the (international) radar for five or six years, I think 2008 was the last time he got capped.
“So he’s starting now to really show his ability and form again, but it’s taken a while.”
For now the Harlequins-bound Yarde’s two tries in Argentina last summer remain a tantalising glimpse of his England potential, yet a spot on the plane to New Zealand will surely be his.
While Yarde has recovered in time, Wade and Six Nations wing-incumbent Jack Nowell are still facing their own battles with injury.
But Cueto, who appeared 55 times for England over an eight-year period, believes the group still have time to prove their longevity.
“You’ve got to be robust in this game now, and if you’re picking injuries up in an early stage you can’t help but worry they’re going to set you back,” he added. “It doesn’t always but generally it isn’t great.
“On the flip side you’re young and recover so much quicker. So hopefully from both Yarde and Wade’s point of view they can put both those injuries behind them and continue where they left off.”
Mark Cueto was speaking at the launch of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Policy.
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