Alfie Barbeary: Wasps' England hopeful may need ankle surgery

Alfie Barbeary in action for Wasps
Barbeary received an autumn call-up to the England camp following a successful Wasps breakthrough at the end of last season

Wasps forward Alfie Barbeary is to see a specialist to determine whether he needs ankle surgery.

The 20-year-old Midlander, who was called into Eddie Jones’ squad before England’s Autumn Nations Cup final win over France, came off injured in Sunday’s 26-23 Premiership win at Sale.

“Alfie has a syndesmosisexternal-link injury,” said Wasps boss Lee Blackett. “He will see the specialist. We’ll know more then.”

Wasps are also without Zach Kibirige for Saturday’s game with Exeter.

The winger was knocked out in Wasps’ win at the AJ Bell Stadium and is kept sidelined by concussion protocols.

“It was a rugby incident,” Blackett told BBC Sport. “Unfortunately that happens.”

As for Barbeary, Wasps director Blackett remains hopeful that the exciting young forward, who plays as hooker for England Under-20s but is starting in the back row for Wasps, will not be sidelined for too long.

“Whenever you have that injury, it’s not the greatest,” he said. “But it’s not an out-and-out disaster.

“It’s hard to know as there are still question marks as to whether he needs surgery.”

The early suggestion is that it could keep him out for six to eight weeks.

“If he does need surgery, it’ll be longer than that,” said Blackett. “But, if he doesn’t, then that’s probably around the right point. It’s a guessing game until he sees a specialist on Wednesday.”

Barbeary ‘has got better and better’

Barbeary, who has started at number eight in Wasps’ last four matches, has made an exciting breakthrough this year, proving one of the few positives to emerge during the Covid lockdown.

After scoring four tries late last season – including a hat-trick against Leicester – he has crossed the whitewash three more times already this season to further catch the eye of England boss Jones.

“I’ve been really pleased with Alfie,” said Blackett. “He’s got better and better and had a big impact.

“I’m disappointed for Alfie. Like any player he’ll be frustrated. But we’ve got to make sure he’s a better player when he comes back.

“It opens up another opportunity for someone else to come in and do well. Tom Willis came on for him on the weekend, so he will get some more game time.”

Wasps’ meeting with Exeter will be their fourth in a little over 12 months.

They were well beaten 38-3 at Sandy Park in November 2019 but thumped a second-string Chiefs side 46-5 at the Ricoh Arena in early October.

The two sides met in the Premiership final later that month, when Exeter emerged 19-13 winners to complete a domestic and European Champions Cup double.


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