Croft and Lawes out of South Africa tour
England's summer tour of South Africa has been hit with further withdrawals as Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes were both ruled out.
Tom Wood, Joe Simpson, Rob Webber and Charlie Sharples had already been ruled out of the five-match, three-Test trip and now head coach Stuart Lancaster has been dealt more bad news on the injury front.
Lock forward Lawes was probably resigned to missing the tour anyway after missing the last two months with a shin complaint, and his absence has been confirmed after specialists advised him that he needs further rest.
However Croft, who has been an integral member of the Leicester squad pushing for Aviva Premiership glory as well as a key player in England's surprising performance in the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year, has also been ruled out after suffering a neck injury with the Tigers.
Against Harlequins on April 21, Croft was treated for six minutes on the pitch after an attempted tackle on Nick Easter before being taken off the field in a neck brace.
Although Leicester boss Richard Cockerill had earlier said the injury was not serious, Croft has now been ruled out of the upcoming tour as he has been told he needs surgery and faces four months on the sidelines.