Tommaso Castello’s World Cup dream is over after the Italian centre failed to recover sufficiently from a terrible injury suffered against England last March.
The rumbustious midfielder fractured his fibula during the Six Nations defeat in London nearly 21 weeks ago but his rehabilitation hasn’t been enough to ensure his fitness to take part in his country’s upcoming warm-up games, a programme that begins with a visit to Dublin on August 10.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old Zebre skipper, who debuted in Argentina in 2016, only has 18 caps, but he had become a pivotal part of Conor O’Shea’s midfield in recent years.
“All of us in the group are deeply sorry for Tommaso,” said O’Shea. “We wish him the best for the continuation of his recovery. His absence, both as a player and as a person, will be painfully felt in the coming months.”
Castello added: “Rugby has formed my character and we are not accustomed to giving up, but with less than two months to the start of the World Cup I have to take note that I will not give the team the contribution that I want.
“The Rugby World Cup is the dream of every rugby player and it’s not easy having to say goodbye but, at this time, continuing my recovery and becoming available to Zebre in the Pro14 season is my main goal.”