The England winger Anthony Watson has been ruled out for three to four weeks with a hamstring injury.
As a result the Bath flyer will miss the opening Six Nations match against France at Twickenham next weekend but it is hoped that he will be available to play later on in the tournament.
A medical assessment showed that he has a slight muscular strain in his hamstring which will require a rehabilitation period of between three and four weeks. He will remain with the team during his rehabilitation.
Eddie Jones, the England coach, said, “It’s disappointing news for Anthony and for England. But we know he’ll rehab diligently to get himself right to go as soon as he can. We’re confident he’ll be in the mix later in the championship.”
Meanwhile France has called up the flanker Bernard Le Roux to replace Raphael Lakafia in the opening Six Nations match.
La Roux, who was born in South Africa, has 25 Test caps for France but played in just one match in last season’s Six Nations, the 31 – 21 home defeat to England.
France finished second to bottom in last year’s tournament and have had their preparations for this year’s tournament disrupted by a spate of withdrawals.
The hooker Camille Chat, the loosehead prop Eddy Ben Arous and the centre Wesley Fofana have all withdrawn with injuries. They will also be without the experienced fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc who is still recovering from a broken arm.
England is looking to extend its 14 game winning streak and are definitely the team to beat going into the tournament. However, Anthony Watson isn’t the only absent player. The team is also without the Vunipola brothers and Chris Robshaw and there are some doubts surrounding James Haskell.