Worcester Warriors: Concussion issues for Tom Heathcote and Jonny Arr

Since starting 2016 as the Warriors' first-choice half-back pairing, Jonny Arr (left) and Tom Heathcote have started just five Premiership games together out of a possible 43
Since starting 2016 as the Warriors' first-choice half-backs, Jonny Arr (left) and Tom Heathcote have started just five Premiership games together out of 43

Worcester have long-term concussion injury issues over sidelined half-backs Tom Heathcote and Jonny Arr.

Arr's loss for another 12 weeks is tempered by the likely return of star South African international scrum-half Francois Hougaard this weekend following an adductor muscle injury.

Heathcote, who has had a string of head injuries, is to be further reviewed by a specialist in four weeks' time.

Warriors also now have new signing Kurt Haupt sidelined with concussion.

The South African hooker, brought in as cover on a short-term deal, is also expected to miss Saturday's return to Premiership action at home to Northampton.

Francois Hougaard has scored four Premiership tries since first joining Worcester in February 2016
Francois Hougaard has scored four Premiership tries since first joining Worcester in February 2016

Warriors have also lost winger Tom Howe (fractured finger), while flankers Dewald Potgieter (knee) and Marco Mama (ACL) and hooker Niall Annett (ACL) remain on the long-term injury list.

"It's never nice to get quality players out injured for a long period of time," Warriors director of rugby Gary Gold told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"But unfortunately it's been the story of our life this year, with the likes of Marco Mama, Dewald Potgieter and Carl Kirwan and now unfortunately Jonny as well.

"Tommy Heathcote has had a tough run of luck too. But it is important now that his welfare is put at the top of the agenda. He and Jonny are both seeing specialists.

"We hope they recover quite quickly, but there are important protocols around head injuries. Bigger than the game of rugby is the health of the players."

On the plus side, Warriors might have not only Hougaard but also stand-off Ryan Mills (quad muscle) fit for Saturday's game against a Northampton side weakened by autumn international calls. And back-row forward GJ Van Velze is also expected to be fit following his own latest concussion injury.

Try time for Warriors again

  • After Ryan Mills' club record eight penalties helped beat champions Saracens 24-18 in early February, in Gary Gold's first game in charge, Warriors were transformed over the final third of last season.
  • Under their new director of rugby, Gold's side scored 29 tries in their final eight Premiership matches last season - an average of over four per game.
  • This season, in their first seven Premiership games, injury-hit Warriors have scored 13 tries - an average of under two per game. And six of those 13 tries came last time out, the narrow 41-35 defeat at Harlequins.
  • Since then, over the last two weekends, they have scored nine more tries in two Anglo-Welsh Cup matches. "Hopefully, that has given us some confidence back in terms of our try scoring ability," said Gold.

Top Stories