England begin their defence of the Six Nations crown away to Italy on February 4 and following a weekend of tough Champions Cup fixtures, head coach Eddie Jones could without key personnel for the opening rounds.
Hosting La Rochelle one week after the French side put 49 points on the English side, Wasps settled the score with a 21 – 3 win over the Top 14 side at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive.
Ther victory came at a potentially significant cost, however, as England internationals Elliot Daly and Nathan Hughes suffered ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
Both men now face the prospect of several weeks on the sidelines and potentially longer, depending on how a visit to a specialist goes.
Reported by the Irish Times, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young painted something of a bleak picture for both club and country.
“We can safely say they are ruled out for a month, even with the best picture. Four weeks would be the best scenario, but it could be as much as 12 if they have an operation.
“With Elliot’s ankle he will have to go through a rehab process – it is whether he needs surgical intervention.
“Nathan felt a knock on his knee so we took him off pretty sharpish. The scans backed it up that they had significant injuries that needed to be respected.”
The news will come as a blow for Jones ahead of his England preparations. Looking to secure a third title in a row, contending with the loss of both players will not be something the coach will have wanted before Christmas.
While Hughes could be covered by a returning Billy Vunipola in the new year, the potential loss of Daly is significant. Having proven to be a slick operator at full-back, on the wing as well through the centre, the versatile 25-year-old is the kind of player who can make a big impact throughout the field.
All this and a monster kicking boot that increases his point-scoring capabilities to pretty much anywhere within 60 metres of the opposition sticks.
Fans must now wait for word back on just how serious the Wasps pair’s injuries are but from Young’s comments, things are not looking all that great right now.