Eddie Jones and England have been dealt a blow with the news that both Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell will miss a number of games at the Rugby World Cup.
Both players have been included in Jones’ final 31-man selection but it looks like they won’t be featuring in Japan until the end of the pool stages.
Vunipola suffered a hamstring injury in the record win over Ireland at Twickenham two weeks ago but he has suffered a setback in training.
“He’s probably going to be right for the third or fourth game,” Jones said after England beat Italy 37-0 in Newcastle.
“He just had a little scar tissue which was impairing his movement.”
He also added: “But that’s all been fixed. He’s progressing really well now.”
Nowell will also miss the opening games of the World Cup with his long-standing ankle injury with his recent bout of appendicitis not helping matters.
“Jack Nowell is probably in the same category [as Vunipola].
“They are important players for us so we are prepared to be patient with them.”
The bright side to all of this is that the two games which the duo are likely to miss are against Tonga and USA.
England’s final two pool matches are against Argentina and France where Jones will hope to have Vunipola and Nowell back in contention.