Vunipola injury blow puts dent in England's Six Nations hopes
England are reeling after front row colossus Mako Vunipola was ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations with an ankle injury.
Vunipola hobbled off in the 44th minute of Sunday's 44-8 demolition of France at Twickenham and a scan has revealed that he requires 10 weeks of rehabilitation that will be overseen by Saracens.
It is a hammer blow that clouds the countdown to a likely title decider against Wales in Cardiff on February 23.
Vunipola was named man of the match as Ireland were crushed 32-20 in Dublin on the opening weekend and he was superb against France until injury struck to his left ankle.
Eddie Jones has hailed the 28-year-old loosehead prop as world-class due to his ability to make explosive impacts in defence and attack, improved scrummaging, work-rate and growing leadership role.
"It's very disappointing to lose Mako at this stage as he's an important player for us," Jones said.
Wales No.8 Taulupe Faletau has also been ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations. The 28-year-old needs to undergo surgery on the broken arm he suffered against Wasps in the Champions Cup last month.
"We're gutted for Taulupe, but this is the best course of action for him moving forwards as a player," Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said.