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Injury problems facing England coach Eddie Jones

Joe Marler has been added to England's lengthy list of forward casualties leading into their Grand Slam defence.

Here, Press Association Sport examines the injury problems facing head coach Eddie Jones as he continues preparations for the RBS 6 Nations.


Chris Robshaw:

The 30-year-old flanker underwent surgery on Monday to repair a shoulder injury that was previously being managed and will be sidelined for 12 weeks, ruling him out of the entire RBS 6 Nations. Robshaw rebuilt his Test-match reputation in 2016 as England completed a perfect 13-match winning streak, having been relieved of the captaincy after the 2015 World Cup.

Billy Vunipola:

Sustained knee ligament damage in November and will definitely miss at least the early rounds of the Six Nations. The battering-ram Saracens number eight will be sorely missed given his talismanic status in Jones' England line-up. His mix of brute force and subtle ball-playing skills has added an extra dimension to England's back row.

James Haskell:

Haskell lasted just 35 seconds of his comeback match as Wasps saw off Leicester 22-16 at Coventry's Ricoh Arena on Sunday. The 31-year-old was concussed when tackling Leicester's Freddie Burns less than a minute into his first appearance in seven months. Haskell underwent toe surgery after England's triumphant 3-0 series win over Australia in June.


Dylan Hartley:

The England captain took his career suspensions tally to 60 weeks with the six-week ban incurred for striking Leinster's Sean O'Brien. Hartley will be available for England's opener against France at Twickenham on February 4 but will be short of match sharpness.

Joe Marler:

The combative loosehead prop will miss the opening two rounds of the Championship against France and Wales after suffering a fracture to his lower left leg. Marler is number two in England's loosehead prop pecking order but is a high-quality replacement for Mako Vunipola, offering a better defensive option and greater expertise at the set-piece.

Mako Vunipola:

The elder Vunipola brother last year established himself as a world-class prop - and arguably the game's best in his position - but his rampaging ball carrying and skills will be missed until the end of February at least, and possibly longer due to a knee problem. Vunipola sees a specialist next week when a more definitive date for his comeback will be set.


George Kruis:

Kruis is rehabilitating a minor cheekbone fracture and while he will miss the next two rounds of Saracens' Champions Cup group campaign, he has been cleared to face France on February 4. The 26-year-old had a stellar 2016 as Saracens claimed the Premiership and European double, as well as England sweeping the board with 13 wins in 13.

Joe Launchbury:

Physical lock Launchbury has been dealing with a calf injury but is poised to make his comeback for Wasps against Toulouse on Saturday. Due to Maro Itoje's likely move to blindside flanker to offset the loss of Robshaw, Jones needs Launchbury to be fit.


From Belfast Telegraph