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Rugby Union: Trueman's future at Worcester looks bleak.

Byline: By Brian Dick Rugby Correspondent

As the midfield partnership that brought Worcester out of National One, James Brown and Gary Trueman have spent the last few years moving in the same direction, though that seems set to change this summer.

While both have fallen down the pecking order at Sixways and have in recent weeks found themselves returning to play back in the First Division with Moseley, Worcester director of rugby Mike Ruddock yesterday dropped a significant hint that only one of them would be retained by the Premiership outfit.

Brown's stay at Billesley Common looks to have been short-lived. After only one display, a match-winning one at Esher, the fly half is back in contention at Worcester and could even be in the squad for this weekend's league match against London Irish.

But auguries are not so good for Trueman, whose contract expires at the end of this campaign and who will no doubt arouse interest at Moseley if, and probably when, he becomes available.

Ruddock suggested that the arrival of All Black Sam Tuitupou was not good news for one of the club's longest-serving players.

"He has gone on loan on the basis that, with Sam's arrival, I could not guarantee him rugby every week," Ruddock said.

"Whilst there are A league matches, there is a chance that with his quality, he could get more regular rugby in a very competitive environment. I have offered him the opportunity and he has taken it.

"I have discussed the possibility that he might not get a contract this year; we are not closing the door at this stage but there is always a possibility he should keep his options open. It gives him the opportunity to put himself out there in the market place.

"He is a lovely guy to coach, he is a smashing lad, but he is playing regular rugby now and I think that's the right thing for him at the moment."

That seems to point to the inside centre's eighth season with Worcester being his last.

Brown, on the other hand, is not out of contract next summer and can expect to feature at least in the European Challenge Cup campaign.

"James' is a very different situation," Ruddock said. "He was out for six weeks with a kidney problem. Moseley were desperate for a ten and James had only just had the all-clear so we put him on loan for a week.

"We called him back last week and he was on the bench for the first team last week and in fact came on in Parma. He is definitely in contention. We were keen to see him last week and that is why we put him on the bench."

Ruddock confirmed that Dominic Feaunati could be out for up to eight weeks having undergone surgery on a knee problem.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2007
Words:475
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