Bath Rugby openside flanker will be out until mid-April following ankle operation
ENGLAND must complete the upcoming Six Nations without Sam Underhill after the Bath Rugby flanker was ruled out for three months by ankle surgery.
It is a setback for Eddie Jones, who is now missing one of the stars of the 2018 autumn campaign and must yet again enter a competition with one of his young opensides unavailable.
Tom Curry has recovered from his own ankle injury sustained against South Africa in November – a blow that gave Underhill his chance – so Jones still has a strong option in the position, but the head coach wanted both players duelling for the jersey.
Underhill, pictured, suffered ankle-ligament damage against Leicester on December 30, and while it was initially thought the 22-yearold had merely rolled the joint, he was subsequently forced to undergo an operation that will keep him out until mid-April.
England launch their Six Nations title challenge against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, February 2 before hosting France a week later.
Jones received some good news, however, after Saracens named Maro Itoje in the second row for their Champions Cup clash with Lyon tomorrow. Itoje missed five matches, including the European doubleheader with Cardiff Blues, due to a knee injury picked up while training for the autumn opener against the Springboks.
“I chipped a bit of the bone leading up to my knee and I damaged a little bit of the middle ligament in the patella,” Itoje said. “It was a weird one because I could run, jump, I could do everything I needed to do – I was able to do all of that with pain.”