Italy's Ghiraldini battling for World Cup fitness after knee surgery


Milan (AFP)

Italy veteran Leonardo Ghiraldini has undergone knee surgery in Rome and is now fighting to be fit for the World Cup in September, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) said on Tuesday.

The Toulouse hooker -- capped 104 times for Italy -- suffered the serious injury in a 25-14 Six Nations defeat to France earlier this month.

Surgery "involved reconstruction of the patellar tendon of the anterior cruciate ligament," the FIR said in a statement, adding that repair work was also done on the medial collateral ligament and external meniscus.

The 34-year-old Ghiraldini has already started physiotherapy and will return to his club to continue with recovery.

"The goal shared with the technical staff led by (coach) Conor O'Shea is to recover in time for the September Rugby World Cup," the FIR added.

Ruptured knee ligaments typically take a minimum of six months to heal, making Ghiraldini a doubt for the global showpiece in Japan from September 20 to November 2.

Italy lost their 22nd consecutive game in the Six Nations to France to earn a fourth consecutive wooden spoon.